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Sierra goes down swinging against top-seeded CB

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POSTED May 19, 2017 1:51 a.m.

SACRAMENTO — One bad inning doomed Sierra in its attempt to upset top-seeded Christian Brothers on Thursday.

The Falcons soared to their 16th straight win, using a six-run fourth inning and a near no-hitter from Tanner Cunha to topple No. 8 Sierra, 7-3. Christian Brothers faces Manteca in the best-of-three semifinals starting Saturday at 3 p.m. 

“They’re 26-1 for a reason,” Sierra coach Jack Thomson said. “They have a good approach at the plate, solid pitching and defense. I don’t think we handed them the game they just beat us, so you just tip your hat and wish them luck.”

Cunha was an away from a no-hitter until Jaden Pina dropped a single into left field. Chase Sperbeck followed with an RBI triple and scored on Hunter Frisk’s single to center.  Cunha finished with four strikeouts, two walks and a hit batsman. 

“I just didn’t want to be the last out of the game,” Pina said. “To be honest when I got to first I didn’t even realize I broke up his no-hitter. 

“He has a lot of different pitches and he can throw them for strikes at any time,” Pina said of Cunha. “He showed up today.”

Sierra’s first run was unearned. Marcos Castillo reached on an infield error to lead off the fifth and scored on another error. The Timberwolves threatened again in the sixth with Jacob Peterson (hit by pitch) and Zach White (walked) scoring position. 

“We could have put our tail between the legs but they didn’t,” Thomson said. “They battled until the last out of the game.”

Sierra (15-10) continued to scrap following Christian Brothers’ staggering fourth-inning rally. Sierra pitcher Jesse Babauta nearly escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam but Michael Ingram was able to dump a two-run single to center field. 

Alex LeForestier (2 for 3, three RBIs) kept it going with a two-run triple, and Tyler Stewart sent him in with a single. Stewart capped off the barrage by scoring on a passed ball. 

“We had a chance to get out of that inning,” Thomson said. “Jesse made a good pitch and the guy fisted it into center field. That drove in two runs and kind of set up the rest of the inning for them.”

“I’m very proud of our group this year — they battled,” Thomson added. “I don’t think we were the most talented team around but I’m very proud of the way they played the game.”

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