Mustangs ‘steal’ a spot in the playoffs

LMC leads state in stolen bases


Cathie Lawrence

Ryan Petrangelo pitched seven innings in Tuesday’s 11-4 win over Laney that clinched the playoffs for the Mustangs.

Los Medanos College Baseball clinched a playoff birth with an 11-4 win over Laney College Tuesday, April 22.
The win was the sixth in a row and their ninth win out of their last ten to rebound from a four game losing streak that knocked them out of first place.
The win gives them a berth in the playoffs, but the Mustangs will not be content with just getting in.
Head Coach Anthony D’Albora does not want to let off of the gas, because even though they need Solano College to beat the College of Marin, they have to continue to win to have a chance to win the conference.
“If we find a way to win this series, or sweep this series we have a chance to win the conference,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens to Marin if we don’t win two out of three or three out of three.”
D’Albora’s Mustangs did their part in the clinching game by turning what was a close game into a blowout by scoring seven runs after Laney scored twice in the seventh inning to make it a 4-3 game.
The two runs in the seventh by Laney knocked Mustangs starting pitcher Ryan Petrangelo out of the game after he cruised along through the first six innings.
The first blow to put the game out of reach came in the bottom of the seventh when Mustangs right fielder Matt Jacobson took a hanging curveball over the left field fence for a three run homer.
“I’ve been talking about curveballs all day,” he said. “We were talking about cement mixers and what that was, hanging curveballs, and I just so happened to get one and put a good swing on it.”
The three run shot was good for his second, third and fourth runs batted in on the day. His first came when he knocked in second baseman Chaz Meadows in his previous at bat with a sacrifice fly.
The four runs batted in for Jacobson gives him 30 on the year, good for first in the Bay Valley Conference a tie for 25 in the state. He continues to lead the Bay Valley in every major offensive category.
The game was then put out of reach in the eighth inning when the Mustangs poured on four more runs, two being the direct result of their continued aggressiveness on the base paths. The Mustangs stole three bases in the inning including a steal of home by centerfielder Jerome Hill on the back end of a double steal when Meadows stole second, and Meadows later scored on an error after Laney’s catcher Marcos Valencia overthrew second base on Jacobson’s steal.
The three steals in the eighth gave the Mustangs four steals on the day and put their season total at 103. They have 24 during the six-game winning streak.
Laney kept the Mustangs from stealing with starting pitcher Keith Britton on the mound. While he was in he kept the runners close. Valencia threw out Mustangs shortstop Ryan Lacy in the first inning and nearly caught Hill in the fifth, but Hill narrowly beat the throw with a headfirst slide.
D’Albora said that it was the amount of times Britton threw over to first that kept the runners close.
“I don’t have the totals, but I’d guess they picked off 70,000 times today,” he said with a smile. “That’s smart, because they know that’s something they know we want to do so they varied their looks and were quick to the dish and their catcher did a good job getting rid of the baseball.”
Laney Head Coach Francisco Zapata said it wasn’t something they did special, it was the same thing his pitcher has been doing all year.
During the game Zapata was not happy. He voiced his opinion multiple times about the strike zone yelling loud enough for everyone to hear.
“When an umpire starts with a zone, I don’t care as long as it’s consistent, but I just referenced to the level of consistency,” he said.
This game was important for Laney’s chances at making the playoffs, and with a conference record of 9-10 after the loss they watched their hopes of playing baseball after this week fade as LMC celebrated their playoff berth.
There will be a meeting to decide the playoff seeds Sunday, April 27. The seeding will determine who and where LMC plays in the playoffs. There is a possibility that LMC could host a playoff game or a series.