Arcata High baseball’s Xavier Finegan slides across home plate for the game-winning run in Friday’s 5-4 win over St. Patrick St. Vincent in the semifinal round of the North Coast Section D-IV playoffs, at the Arcata Ball Park (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)
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Mason Trakpus hit a walk-off sac-fly RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning which scored Xavier Finegan and the No. 2 seeded Arcata High baseball team fended off visiting No. 3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent, winning 5-4 in the semifinal round of the North Coast Section Division-IV playoffs Friday night at the Arcata Ball Park.

Tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh Arcata needed just one run to get back to its first section championship game since 2016.

SPSV’s Michael Dennis came into pitch in the seventh in relief of starter Adrien Garcia, and didn’t fair well.

The senior walked Finegan to start the inning and hit the next batter, Jaden Gorge, to put two on with no outs.

Merick Sears followed with a sac-bunt which moved the runners over to second and third and, after Alex Gorge received a free pass to first base, Trakpus stepped to the plate with three on and one out.

Trakpus sent a deep shot to right field, giving Finegan more than enough time to get home and secure a section title appearance for Arcata.

“This was probably our worst game in terms of defense tonight so for our guys to stay focused and get a big time win shows a lot of character,” Arcata’s head coach Troy Ghisetti said.

Jaden Gorge pitched a complete game for Arcata in the win. The senior, who is the only Arcata player left from the team’s 2016 section championship team, gave up seven hits and struck out four.

“I’ve been saying this for four years now, Jaden goes out there every day and battles his butt off,” Ghisetti said. “He stayed focused today and got the job done.”

To be in the position it was to win the game, Arcata needed a serious dose of offense in the sixth inning.

Down 3-1 entering the frame, Arcata received singles from Jaden Gorge, Alex Gorge and Trakpus to quickly load up the bases. RBI singles from Mason Nichols, Brian Ford and Porter Price knocked in three runs to erase a 3-1 deficit and send Arcata into the seventh ahead 4-3.

SVSP (14-8) tied the game in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Diego Barba which scored Charlie Rose, only to see its season end in the bottom of the frame.

Arcata’s Trakpus and Ford each had two hits a piece in the win while Sears, Alex Gorge, Nichols and Price each had one.

Arcata (22-6) will take on its Northern-Humboldt rival McKinleyville (22-3) in the section championship game on Wednesday. Arcata won just one of four meetings with McKinleyville this season. The one game it did win, Merick Sears started at pitcher — and in all likelihood the skillful lefty will get the start again against McKinleyville on Wednesday.

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