FRESNO, Calif. - Josh Lenney's two-out, bases-loaded triple in the top of the 10th inning capped a furious late rally by defending state champion Santa Rosa Junior College as the Bear Cubs downed El Camino College, 8-5, in an elimination game at the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Baseball Championship on Sunday evening, advancing Santa Rosa to Monday's title game against Grossmont College.
Monday's championship matchup will be a rematch of Sunday's semifinal game won by Grossmont (37-7-1), 3-0. First pitch is 11 a.m. If the Bear Cubs (36-10) win the game, a second winner-take-all contest will follow approximately 30 minutes later.
Both Lenney and left-fielder Ben Sanderson went 4 for 5 with Lenney knocking in four runs and Sanderson bringing in one.
El Camino led 5-1 after seven innings but Santa Rosa tallied two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to tie the game. Sanderson singled down the right-field line to open the 10th inning, was sacrificed to second and then went to third on a groundout. Two walks loaded the bases for Lenney who smashed a ball to left-center, clearing the bases and setting off a wild jubilation in the Bear Cubs' dugout.
Brady Dorn doubled in the bottom of the 10th for El Camino but Jared Noonan was able to shut El Camino down to end the game.
Santa Rosa broke through with the game's first run when Sanderson singled through the right side to score Cole Brodansky who opened the inning with a double. The Warriors, though, knotted the game in their half on an infield grounder to first that plated Dorn.
Tied 1-1 in the sixth, El Camino scored three times on three hits. Dorn's triple to right scored Ty Conrad, Ryan Eastburn's single to center brought in Dorn and Cody Wissler's groundout scored Eastburn.
That's the way the game stayed until the eighth when two infield grounders scored runs for Santa Rosa, which had just one hit in the inning but benefitted from a wild pitch and a hit batter to help keep the inning alive.
A couple of singles set the table for a one-out double by Lenney that scored a run during the big ninth inning. A groundout brought in another run to tie the game but Santa Rosa wasn't able to push across the go-ahead run. El Camino went down in order in its half of the ninth.
Noonan (5-0) went five innings to get the win while starter Ryan Calderon also threw for five innings. Each had five strikeouts and allowed a total of just nine hits. Kenneth Haus pitched well for El Camino, throwing all the way into the eighth before being relieved by Jake Carr. Haus struck out six, gave up three walks and scattered six hits.