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Saturday, May 28, 2022

High School Baseball: WCAL regular-season champion St. Francis also wins the league’s post-season tournament

Mountain View – Final out against Wally Christian is never easy. It’s been like this for years.

On Thursday at his home turf in Mountain View, St. Francis was knocked out in the final and then celebrated in the midst of his diamond for the second week in a row.

Seven days after winning the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season championship, St Francis also captured the league’s post-season tournament.

There will be no co-champion in WCAL this season.

St. Francis has the crown of all.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - MAY 12: St. Francis High School Baseball celebrates after winning the finals of the West Catholic Athletic League tournament against Wally Christian on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif.  (Shay Hammond) / Bay Area Newsgroup)
St. Francis celebrates at his home ground in Mountain View after defeating Wally Christian in the final of the West Catholic Athletic League tournament on Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)

The Lancers beat Wally Christian 2-1 as baller-committee Blake Rogers hit 12 and Elias Duncan hit both St. Francis runs and singles up the middle in the second.

It is the first time since 2015 that St Francis have won the league’s regular-season and post-season championships.

At the time, St. Francis was the top event in the Central Coast section.

Now, Vale have the proverbial goal at their back after winning the top division in each of the last four CCS playoffs.

This season, St. Francis, ranked No. 1 in the latest Bay Area Newsgroup Top 20, has won two out of three games between the teams.

“We just compete,” Duncan said. “That’s all we do. It was our goal at the beginning of the year, to win both and keep going at CCS and keep working hard.”

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12: St. Francis Blake Rogers (23) pitches in the seventh inning during the Finals of the West Catholic Athletic League Tournament on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif.  (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)
St. Francis pitches in the seventh inning against Wally Christian in the final of the Blake Rogers West Catholic Athletic League tournament on Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)

Wally, No. 2, reached Thursday’s final earlier in the day when he completed a 12-6, 12-innings semifinal victory over fourth-placed Bellarmine.

Play was postponed due to darkness at Bellarmine’s home ground on Wednesday and resumed on Thursday at St Francis, with Wally leading 9-6 and no one at the top of base 12th.

Wally added three more runs and then retired to get Bellarmine to go fast.

The title game began about 45 minutes after the last out.

“I can’t give him enough credit,” said St Francis coach Matt Maguire, “for playing that long game yesterday and coming here today and doing that work (against Bellarmine) and sitting here for 45 minutes and Then come out and compete. That’s what they do.”

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - MAY 12: Tatum Marsh (16) of Wally Christian returns home against St. Francis High School in the fifth inning during the West Catholic Athletic League Tournament Final at St. Francis High School on Thursday in Mountain View, Calif. .  May 12, 2022.  (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)
Tatum Marsh (16) of Wally Christian walks out of home against St. Francis in the fifth inning of the final of the West Catholic Athletic League tournament on Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)

Longtime Valley coach John Diete won his 700th and 701st games in the first two rounds.

Rogers stopped No. 702 with a scintillating performance.

Senior allowed three hits and three runs, including a free pass, to open the seventh. He calmly struck the next two and then got a dribbler in the middle that Duncan, shortstop, scooped up and moved to second to end the game and ignite a celebration.

“It was awesome,” said Rogers, celebrating with my teammates. “It is every little kid’s dream to be out in the championship (game) in the last innings and close it for their teams. it was very nice.”

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - MAY 12: Brady Choi (8) of St. Francis swings the ball in the second inning against Wally Christian in the final of the West Catholic Athletic League tournament at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., Thursday.  May 12, 2022.  (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)
St. Francis’ Brady Choi swings the ball in the second inning against Wally Christian in the final of the West Catholic Athletic League tournament on Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)

Maguire said starting pitching has been a strength throughout the season. He strongly praised pitching coach Jamie Ybarra for keeping that part of the team on point.

“He’s done an incredible job with the staff throughout the year,” Maguire said. “There were some question marks about our pitching and all that sort of thing. That is not a problem. You just look at the last three (league playoff) games. We started in 20 out of the 21 innings we played.”

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