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Encinal Jets Secure WACC Championship, Head to NCS Playoffs

The Encinal Jets baseball team (18-7) ended up claiming the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) Shoreline League Championship crown with a 7-1 victory over the Mount Eden Monarchs (11-12) on Pat Bail Field at College of Alameda on May 9. It was the Jets tenth win in a row. Mt. Eden had been on a rise, coming into the game with six straight wins. Nevertheless, Encinal was the favorite going into the game as they were undefeated in league.

Alameda Post - the Encinal Jets baseball team poses together with a WACC 12 Champions banner
Encinal Jets baseball team celebrates a 7-1 victory over Mt. Eden on May 9 in the WACC Shoreline League Championship. Photo Ila Cantrell.

The game started relatively slow outside of one unearned run by Encinal’s Leo Peredes in the first inning after a bad throw by Monarchs pitcher Javier Alfaro III went past the catcher. No other runs were scored for either side until the top of the fourth inning, when two back to back passed balls for Encinal led Mt. Eden to an unearned run.

But Encinal’s pitching was able to settle down. Both Darren Olson and Mateo McMinn pitched a solid game, combining for 8 strikeouts and 0 earned runs.

“I feel like I put most of my stuff out there, ” said Olson, who pitched the first 4 innings. “I feel like my pitches were dialed in for the most part. I just wanted to throw strikes and limit the walks.”

Going into the bottom of the fourth, Encinal and Mt. Eden were tied 1-1. An RBI single by sophomore Eric Proctor followed by an RBI sacrifice fly from junior Zack Struthers gave Encinal a 3-1 lead.

With two on and two outs, sophomore Evan Furuichi stepped into the batting box with high expectations. Furuichi hit a dime, breaking open the game and securing a base-clearing triple, giving Encinal a commanding 5-1 lead.

“I really have to slow the game down,” said Furuichi. “I’m a confident player, but sometimes when I get too amped up I keep going too fast. I slowed the game down and I really see my pitch that I want to hit.”

Furuichi, who leads the team in batting average at .494, had been named WACC Shoreline League MVP before the game. He went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the game.

With the 2-out rally going strong, senior Angus Olaes hit an RBI single to bring Furuichi home and push the Jets lead to 6-1.

In the 6th inning, an RBI sacrifice fly by Encinal’s catcher Matan Antebi brought the Jets score up to 7-1, furthering the lead.

The victory solidified Encinal as back-to-back WACC Shoreline League Champions. The Jets were awarded a #6 seed in the North Coast Section DIII playoffs and will play #11 Archie Williams on May 14.

Max Millot is the Encinal Horizon Sports Editor.

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