It was Senior Day for the St. Helena High baseball team, but it was one freshman Micah Marquez will remember just as much.
After helping the junior varsity baseball team rout Kelseyville in the afternoon, Marquez joined the varsity squad for its evening game and ended up being the hero in an eight-inning, 5-4 North Central League victory over the Knights.
Each team had scored three runs in the sixth inning, turning a 1-1 deadlock after three innings into a 4-4 tie.
In the top of the seventh, senior pitcher Stacy Nelson III struck out the side. St. Helena got a base runner in the bottom half when Miles Harvey was hit by a pitch with two outs, but he was stranded.
Kelseyville threatened in the top of the extra frame when its leadoff hitter singled and took second base on a sacrifice bunt. After an out, a full-count walk put runners at first and second, but Nelson got a comebacker to end it.
Nelson then singled up the middle to lead off the bottom half. But it didn’t look good for the Saints after the next two batters struck out, even though Nelson had stolen second base.
But Justin Maldonado walked to set the stage for Marquez (1 for 3, RBI, walk). Having struck out in his first two at-bats, he atoned with a soft line drive to right field that drove in Nelson, who beat the throw to score the winning run.
“I’m thrilled that we as a team were finally able to get the big two-out hit that has eluded us so much this season,” St. Helena head coach Darrell Quirici said after the Saints (8-7, 8-5 NCL I) avenged last month’s 4-0 loss at Kelseyville.
“It was very exciting for Coach (Jim) Gamble and me to watch our players mob Micah and celebrate this hard-earned victory.”
In the first inning, after a two-out walk to Brent Isdahl, Nelson drove a hard line drive to the right-center field wall as a hustling Isdahl beat the throw to the plate.
In the sixth, after the Saints loaded the bases with two outs, Maldonado scorched a liner into the left-field corner to plate Isdahl, Nelson and the speedy Will Meyer — who scored from first base.
St. Helena outhit the Knights 6-5, with Nelson (3 for 3, double, RBI, 2 runs) getting half of them. A
The Saints close out their season by visiting Middletown at 4 p.m. Friday.
St. Helena 13, Kelseyville 0 (5 innings)
The Saints clinched the North Central League I title Tuesday with a Senior Day rout.
“The girls all worked so hard and their emotion and energy all season was how high school sports should be played,” St. Helena head coach Brandon Farrell said.
The Saints’ two seniors, Carter Dahline and Daniela Mendoza, were major factors in the win.
Dahline threw two hitless innings of relief with 5 strikeouts and two walks, after starter Aribella Farrell went three innings and allowed one hit and no walks while striking out seven.
Mendoza went 1 for 2, driving in two runs with a two-out single, and scored two runs.
“Carter and Daniela contributed in a big way tonight,” Coach Farrell said. “It was an exciting team victory.”
St. Helena drew seven walks and had six hits, led by Calistoga High transfer Skylar Fruetel with a 2 for 3, three-RBI, one-run day. Farrell went 2 for 2, and Mia Wagner was 1 for 2 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs.
Dahline drew three walks and scored twice, Alexandra Hill drew a walk, had an RBI and scored three runs, Gema Jimenez walked, drove in a run and scored a run, Sofia Cupp walked and scored a run, and Andrea Tobon walked.
With no playoffs due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Saints (16-6, 12-1 NCL I) will close their championship season at 4 p.m. Friday with a league finale at fourth-place Middletown (6-8, 5-8 NCL I).
Saints win last three matches
On May 7, the Saints won 5-0 at Cloverdale, pulling out three three-setters and getting a forfeit at No. 3 singles.
At No. 1 singles, Macie McPherson came back to beat Ari Gamez, 6-7, 6-4, 10-7. At No. 2, Audie Novak prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 over Alexis Leyva.
At No. 1 doubles, Max Brown and Max Landstrom triumphed 6-0, 6-7, 7-6 over Grace Messenger and Citlaly Lopez. At No. 2 doubles, Sydney Adamson and Brenna Pauls won 6-1, 6-2 over Grace Kelder and Gracie McNulty.
St. Helena hosts Middletown four days later and prevailed 3-2.
McPherson pulled out a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Paige Astley at No. 1 singles, but the Mustangs’ Olivia Kucer defeated Will Garrett at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-1. Sophie Kucer also won for Middletown, beating Robert Pryzbylinski 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 3 singles.
But the Saints’ doubles swept. Brown and Will Pakter rolled 6-3, 6-1 over Joe and John Reynosa in the No. 1 match, and Novak and Loren Maher cruised 6-2, 6-1 over Reese Caldwell and Lara Patterson at No. 2.
“Both were closer-than-the-numbers kinds of matchups,” St. Helena coach Chris Cheng said. “As always, the depth of the Saints team gets exhibited in the undefeated doubles squads that secure the victories. Also, the student-athletes have been very game under unusually hot spring conditions. The coaches are thankful to be watching from the shade.”
The Saints closed out their season last Friday with another 3-2 victory, this time at Kelseyville.
“More 3-2 wins than I can remember in recent history,” Cheng said. “Nice to see those matches, though. I definitely think the athletes get more out of close matches. I tip my hat to the rest of the league.
“Saints remain undefeated in 2021.”
Johnny RIxen defeated McPherson 6-2, 6-3. Maher prevailed at No. 2 singles over Larue Furlani, 7-6, 6-2, but Ryann Taylor downed Pryzbylinski 7-5, 6-2 at No. 3.
But Pakter and Brown rolled 6-0, 6-3 over Rylan Lipscomb and Hanna Scully, and Garrett and Novak nearly got shutout sets in a 6-0, 6-1 win over Maddy Madrzyk and Sam Carter.
Justin-Siena 16, St. Helena 4 (5 innings)
The Saints took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Friday. Micah Marquez reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored when Wynton Meyer hit into an error. Meyer took second when Justice Penterman’s fly ball was misplayed, and both scored on Christian Meineke’s single to center field. But Meineke was caught stealing at second base and a strikeout ended the threat.
But the Braves’ first five batters in the bottom of the first managed to tie the score. The leadoff batter was hit by a pitch, stole second, took third on a sacrifice fly and scored on the first of three straight RBI singles as Justin-Siena ran the bases aggressively. After another out, the Braves took a 4-3 lead on an error.
Meineke relieved to start the second and Justin-Siena made it 5-3 with a walk and RBI double. Two more walks loaded the bases, but Meineke stranded them. Will Meyer led off St. Helena’s third with a double and, after two outs, stole third and scored on an error to pull the Saints within 5-4. In the bottom half, shortstop Marquez turned a 6-3 double play, but the Braves followed with an RBI double and RBI single to go up 7-4. Catcher Thomas Herdell threw out a runner trying to steal third to end the inning.
But while the Saints failed to get a runner on base in the next two innings, Justin-Siena scored 1 in the fourth and 8 in the fifth to win by the 10-run mercy rule.
The Saints’ four hits also included singles by Josh Johnson and Marquez.
St. Helena was coming off a mercy-rule win of its own, 13-3 in 5 innings over visiting Cloverdale on May 6. Jake Salling pitched the first 3 innings for the win, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits and a strikeout. He also had a walk, hit by pitch, RBI and run at the plate.
The Saints’ 10 hits all came from Wynton Meyer (2 for 3, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, walk, 2 runs), Will Meyer (2 for 2, double, sacrifice fly, 2 RBIs, walk, 3 runs), Penterman (2 for 4, 3 RBIs, run), Johnson (2 for 3, 3 RBIs, run) and Herdell (2 for 3, RBI, 2 runs).
St. Helena (4-5) came back Tuesday with a 12-2 win over Kelseyville that ended after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Leading the Saints at the plate were Zantos Segura (2 for 3, RBI, 2 stolen bases, 2 runs), Herdell (2 for 3, 2 stolen bases, 2 runs), Penterman (2 for 3, double, 2 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, run) and Will Meyer (2 for 3, 2 RBIs, run, stolen base). Also with offense were Wynton Meyer (1 for 3, double, RBI), Johnson (1 for 2, RBI, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 stolen bases), Meineke (1 for 1, RBI, run, 2 walks, stolen base), Salling (2 walks, 2 runs) and Marquez (1 for 3, 2 RBIs, run).
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