San Bruno wins Joe DiMaggio World Series | NevadaAppeal.com
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San Bruno wins Joe DiMaggio World Series

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal San Bruno Lions players celebrate their win on Tuesday at John L. Harvey Field during the championship game of the Joe DiMaggio World Series.
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When coming into the championship round of any baseball tournament, a coach really never knows what to expect.

San Bruno, Calif., came into Tuesday’s championship round of the Joe DiMaggio World Series needing to beat the Tri-County (Calif.) Gamblers twice to win the title. Tri-County understandably save essentially its two aces – Kris Cole and Michael Gleason – for a possible second game.

San Bruno had no choice but to throw its ace Greg Gonzalez in the first round. Gonzalez was outstanding again and Cole and Gleason gave Tri-County a solid effort. But the wild card was San Bruno’s Eric Herrera.

After Gonzalez pitched a complete game in an 11-1 win, Herrera provided San Bruno with six outstanding innings in a 7-2 victory, giving San Bruno the crown.

“Unbelievable, every one of them,” said San Bruno manager Bob Nolan said about his club. “It’s just a great team.

“We just battled and battled and battled. These kids never gave up. They’re just a great bunch of guys.”

In the opener, San Bruno jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning and would have scored more runs if Gleason had not thrown out a runner at second and a runner at the plate from third.

After Jimmy Parque and Mike Watkins singled, Gonzalez followed with an RBI single. Jesse Orozco then hit a three-run home run. Lucas Hagsberg later hit a two-run triple and scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-0.

Gonzalez struck out 13 over six innings in his two-hit complete game effort. He was consistently throwing 90-92 miles an hour in the bottom of the first when he struck out the side. One of the hits was an RBI double he gave up to Sebastian Salas that made it 7-1 in the second.

He received defensive help on the other hit he gave up in the fourth when Parque gunned down a runner trying to score from center field on Ray McIntire’s single.

The game ended on the mercy rule when San Bruno scored four runs in the sixth. Hagsberg singled, Watkins reached on a bunt single and Gonzalez followed with an RBI single.

Aftter Ricky Molina singled, Ivan Hildalgo walked to force in a run. Jake Schwartz then hit a walk-off two-run double to end the game, making it 11-1.

Watkins finished with three hits as he also doubled and Gonzalez, Parque and Hagsberg all had two hits.

Herrera allowed one run on two hits while striking out seven over six innings in the nightcap.

“I was wishing and hoping honestly,” said Nolan, commenting on how he didn’t know what to expect from Herrera. “The kid gave us more than I could have expected, an amazing effort.”

Kris Cole, who pitched a complete game in Tri-County’s win over San Bruno on Sunday that put Tri-County into the championship round, started and other than a three-run third, gave Tri-County an otherwise solid effort over three innings.

Molina’s RBI single gave San Bruno a 1-0 lead in the first. In the third, Parque singled and Watkins reached on a bunt single. Gonzalez followed with a two-run double and Molina hit an RBI double to make it 4-0.

Kannon Smith’s RBI single, Tri-County’s first of the game, cut the deficit to 4-1 in the fifth. Gleason, who was the winning pitcher in Tri-County’s victory over the Sierra Sun Devils on Saturday, pitched the last three innings for Tri-County.

He ended up allowing three runs in the sixth, one of them earned. After Kevin Daniele was hit by a pitch, San Bruno perfectly executed a hit and run, with Kevin McAlindon hitting a single to give San Bruno runners at first and third. A run scored on a balk, another run scored on an error and Watkins hit an RBI single to make it 7-1.

After Herrera gave up a single to Nick Hedrick and Smith was hit by a pitch in the seventh, Herrera was pulled and Gonzalez came on one more time. Gonzalez had already gone 3-0 in the tournament as he also won San Bruno’s opener and pitched the seventh to pick up the win in San Bruno’s 11-10 victory over the Sun Devils on Monday that kept San Bruno alive.

Gonzalez gave up an RBI single to Salas that made it 7-2. But Gonzalez then struck out the next two batters and got a groundout to end the game.

“I can’t believe that he has not been signed to a professional contract,” Nolan said. “The kid is going to be a pro, no doubt in my mind. He’s the real deal. He’s a competitor, very fantastic.”

Watkins had three hits and Molina added two hits.

All Tournament: Watkins was named the most valuable player and Gonzalez the most valuable pitcher. Also named to the all-tournament team were the Galena Spartans’ Eric Underwood and Pete Lazzari, the Sun Devils’ Niko Saladis, Roman Davis, Phil Mannelly and Stephen Yarrow, San Carlos’ Jarrod Hopper, Tony Cooper and Ben Edelstein, San Bruno’s Parque, Hagsberg, Molina and Herrera, San Francisco’s Trinity Maintenance’s Pat Burford and Tri-County’s Alex Thomson, Gleason, McIntire and Brock Neil. A glaring omission from the all-tournament team was Cole.