By Bill Tamburrino
Mira Mesa High School eliminated Ramona High School in the play-in round of the CIF Division I baseball playoffs. The Dawgs dropped an 8-1 decision to the Marauders on the road to close out a 19-11 campaign.
It was the Dawgs’ 10th straight trip to the playoffs in coach Dean Welch’s tenure as head coach.
“Kyle (Wilson) pitched very well. A couple of close calls and few errors cost us the game. He kept us in contention. He pitches with a chip on his shoulder and is a competitor. It was a tough way for our seniors to go out. A win here would have given them at least two more games,” said Welch.
In the CIF’s baseball and softball playoff formula a loss in the play-in game means elimination. After the play-in round, the tournament becomes a double elimination format. Or, as the coaches say, “One and done or two and a bar-b-q.”
The Marauders capitalized on Ramona errors to score five unearned runs but the three earned runs were enough them to advance. Wilson got the start and gave up three earned runs on seven hits as he struck out two. CJ Broussard went the final two innings and gave up two unearned runs on two hits and struck out two.
Gage Canning and Joel Mitchell each had two hit days for the Dawg offense. Canning blasted two doubles and scored the lone Bulldog run. Mitchell singled and ripped a triple. Seniors Kevin Hagan and Tyler Sherman both stroked singles in the game.
The Dawgs had their chances early in the game. They left one on in the first inning, stranded three base runners in the third inning, and left the bases loaded again in the fourth inning when they only trailed by two runs.
“One hit in the third or fourth inning could have changed the momentum and could have given us a lead or at least a tie. Give their left-hander (Trey Lomax) credit. He kept us off balance and let his defense make plays,” said Welch. Lomax recorded seven strikeouts as he won his first game of the season.
Ramona is a Division II or III team, according to enrollment and depending on the sport, but under the new format the Dawgs are a Division I team in baseball, based on past success and overall strength of the program.
In the new format, three of the Open Division playoff teams had losing records but advanced to the playoffs in the elite division, based on past performances and not their play this year. One North County team with Division II enrollment got to go to the playoffs in Division IV with a losing record of 8-22.
Ramona played up a division, accepted the challenge, and ended the season with an 18-11 record.