Southern Section 4-A Baseball Playoffs : Foothill Leaves Sonora Stranded in Wild-Card Game
Pitcher Kent Donnelly’s day ended as it had begun.
Sonora High School loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and did it again in the seventh.
But by the seventh, it no longer mattered, as Foothill had its Southern Section 4-A wild-card playoff game well in hand.
Donnelly, a sophomore right-hander, struggled through the early innings but was able to shut down Sonora over the final three innings for an 11-3 victory at Foothill.
The Knights (16-10) will play at North High School in Riverside Friday in a first-round game.
Things didn’t start well for Foothill Tuesday. The first four Sonora batters reached base against Donnelly on three singles and a walk.
But Sonora scored only one run in the inning, on a weak ground out by Kevin Cook. The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the second on Lance Storm’s home run.
From then on, Donnelly (4-3) was able to get out of most of his jams. He gave up only an unearned run in the fourth as Sonora stranded eight runners, including three in the seventh.
“Donnelly is a tough kid,” Foothill Coach Gerry Sedoo said. “I knew he would hang in there. He’s been hanging in all season.”
Donnelly, who missed the season’s first nine games with a sprained ankle, was strong until the seventh inning. He gave up just one hit after Storm doubled home a run with two outs in the fifth. Sonora loaded the bases in the seventh on two walks and a hit batter but failed to score.
“My curveball came on about the fifth,” Donnelly said. “I couldn’t get it over in the early innings, but it was strong at the end of the game.”
And Foothill generated plenty of offense, with a little help from Sonora, to give Donnelly time to find his stuff.
Trailing 2-0, Foothill got three runs in the second, none of which would have scored without Sonora mistakes.
The Knights loaded the bases with two outs, but the inning appeared to be over when Adam Chambers grounded to shortstop Mitch Kaylor. However, Kaylor’s throw to second baseman Troy Kanakas ended up in the right field corner, and by the time it was retrieved, three runs had scored.
After Storm’s double tied the score in the third, Foothill regained the lead on Ashby Jones’ two-run single in Foothill’s half of the inning. Jones finished with three runs batted in.
Foothill scored two in the fourth and fifth and four in the sixth.
Foothill had 12 hits, all singles, and Sonora had 2 errors, 4 walks, 4 wild pitches, 3 passed and 1 balk.