Washington-Fremont third baseman Stevie Murata might never forget the eighth inning Wednesday in the first round of the North Coast Section Division II baseball playoffs. In the top half of the frame, with the score tied, Newark Memorial’s Ashraf Yusuf absolutely crushed a line drive that was targeted for left field, a certain single, maybe more. But Murata soared Superman-style, and the ball somehow found as his outstretched glove. “I just took one step to the left and laid out,” he said. “I was on the ground. I looked, and it was in there.” Newark Memorial coach Larry Murray called the play “awesome,” adding, “Why couldn’t you do that against somebody else.” Added Washington coach Michael Sewell, “He came out his shoes for us on that one. He’s been growing as a ballplayer. He continues to impress.” Then in the bottom half of the inning, as the wind swirled and rain intensified, Murata came to bat with two out and the winning run at second. The senior wasted no time. He hit a single to left that drove in Damian Stone as second-seeded Washington celebrated a 5-4 victory over its Mission Valley Athletic League counterpart. The Huskies will play host to Northgate or Benicia in the quarterfinals Saturday.
Small-ball lifts Huskies
Washington showed in the first inning why it has 21 wins. Stone opened with a bunt single. Murata followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Stone to second. Frankie Lawrence reached on an infield single, then Jake Serpa dropped a perfect bunt to bring home Stone. A balk drove in another run and then Jarod Ngo singled to center to make it 3-0. “Playoff baseball,” Sewell said.
No quit in Newark Memorial
The Cougars were only the 15th seed, but they knew they would not be overmatched against Washington. In two previous meetings between the teams this season, Washington won 2-0 and 5-4 in eight innings. Yes, the same score as Wednesday. So after falling behind by three runs in the first inning, Newark Memorial kept battling until it evened the score with two runs in the top of the seventh, the tying run crossing home plate on Jason Malimban’s sacrifice bunt. “They have a lot of fight in them,” Murray said. “I am very proud of them. That’s what I was trying to tell them. That’s a top team over there. They’ve had a great year. They beat us three times, and they’ve been good games.”
Reigning CCS D-I champ back on track
Los Altos is the defending CCS Division I champion and No. 2 seed, but it’s hard to say the Eagles entered the playoffs with any momentum. A four-game skid to end the regular season negated much of the optimism from a 21-1 start. “I told them, ‘Hey, we just focus on the next game because that’s all we’re guaranteed at this point,’” Los Altos coach Gabriel Stewart said. “Luckily, it seems like they embraced that.” Los Altos jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against No. 15 …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports