Baseball beats San Benito, wins first ever CCS title, 5-4

Baseball beats San Benito, wins first ever CCS title, 5-4

Ben Sneider pitches in the first inning of the game. Sneider had two strikeouts and two earned runs on 42 pitches.

After two hours of rain delay, and head to head play for six and a half innings, Austin Braff (’12) drove the ball into right-center field and brought home B.J. Boyd, to win the first CCS baseball title in school history, over the San Benito Haybalers.

In the bottom of the third inning, with the score tied 0-0, Viking outfielder Cory Tenanes (’11) bombed the second pitch into right-center field, for a triple. Boyd followed up with a high fly double to left field and an RBI as Tenanes came in to score. Right-fielder Christoph Bono (’11) grounded out to send Boyd to third, who was then batted in by Austin Braff’s single to left. T.J. (’11) and Austin Braff would be caught and thrown out on a steal respectively, to end the inning.

Jacob Lauing ('12) slides back into second base. Lauing pinch ran for Will Glazier ('11).

With the Vikings leading 2-0 heading into the fourth, however, the Haybalers countered with offense of their own. Marcus Sabatte (’12) went to work with one out in the inning, with a single to center field. The next hitter, catcher Jacob Tonascia (’13) ripped the second pitch he saw over the wall in left field for a two-run homer and the tie. At this point, Drake Swezey (’11) was brought in to relieve Sneider on the mound. Two singles brought two men on base, including an error by the Paly defense, to put Bryan Granger (’11) on base. A second error saw the Haybalers take the lead, as confusion in center field caused a high fly by Craig Slibsager (’12) to drop. Swezey struck out the eighth batter in the inning to finally bring the Paly up to bat once again.

With Paly trailing 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Paly second baseman Jack Witte (’12) hit a fly ball to right field, where it was dropped, allowing him to reach second. Third baseman John Dickerson (’12) tied the game at three by driving in Witte on a single. Dickerson then stole second on the third pitch to Tenanes, who eventually would hit a single to left field. On the single, Dickerson rounded third base as the outfielder threw the ball home to his catcher who could not make the play as Dickerson slid through him and touched the plate for the lead.

John Dickerson ('12) slides home to tie the game at four runs. The Vikings' scored five runs in their win.

The next inning yielded a run for San Benito from Vallejo, who was batted in by Tonsacia. The Vikings’ then went quietly in the bottom of the sixth. Glazier grounded out before Swezey was hit hard in the back by a pitch. After two more ground outs, Sweezey pitched the last inning of his career for the Vikings.

Swezey struck out Vallejo, and worked through a Viking error to strike out the final two batters of the inning.

“There’s really nothing to say, it all comes down to them, they deserve all the credit,” head coach Erick Raich said. “What’s more impressive is that Drake Swezey gets drilled in the middle of the back and comes out and has the best inning of the night.”

In the bottom of the seventh Boyd reached second on a grounder to the right side after a wild throw flew past the first baseman. The Haybalers elected to intentionally walk Bono, to bring out Austin Braff. On the first pitch, he drilled the ball for a single and watched, along with his teammates, as Boyd rounded third base and touched home to bring about the CCS championship, the first in school history for baseball.

Braff joined his older brother T.J. on the team just this year and batted .413 on the season.

“It’s been awesome, coming in new and all these kids welcoming me right off the bat and together, growing as a team and being part of something that’s never happened before, it’s just been awesome,” Austin said.

T.J., a three-year varsity player, who already has a football CCS and state championship from earlier this year, credits his younger brother’s success in contributing to the team.

“My brother has come so far, in baseball and just as a person, it was great to see him get that hit right there”, T.J. said. “I love these guys, it was a great team to be on and I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year.”

The Vikings will look to Austin and Boyd to help fill the gaps left by graduating seniors T.J. Braff, George Brown, Jeff Cohen, Tenanes, Sam Maliska, Bono, Will Glazier, Swezey, and Graham Marchant.