With their backs against the wall for the majority of Saturday’s North Coast Section Division-VI championship game, the Cubs continued to fight.
But after four innings the No. 1 seeded South Fork High baseball team ran out of steam, relenting a slough of runs in the final few innings to No. 2 Credo — Rohnert Park before falling 8-3 in the section title game Saturday afternoon at South Fork High.
“We finished second in league — came very close to splitting it — and second in the NCS, so overall it was a good season for us,” South Fork’s head coach Corky Coffelt said. “I think we just beat ourselves today, but that’s the way it goes.”
South Fork’s starting pitcher C.J. Van Meter, despite the loss, delivered a terrific effort on Saturday. At the plate Van Meter connected on an RBI single in the first inning to knot the score at 1-1 and in the seventh inning delivered a 2RBI double in his final at-bat as a Cub.
The senior, after pitching five innings in Wednesday’s semifinal win over No. 4 San Francisco Waldorf, closed out his career as a Cub with five more innings on Saturday — the maximum allowed due to rules on rest.
Through four innings Van Meter gave up just one run off one hit as the teams moved into the fifth knotted in a 1-1 tie. Credo scored twice in the fifth inning, one run via an RBI single and the other via en error, to take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the frame.
Credo (14-5) all but closed the door in the sixth inning with a four-run flurry after South Fork’s pitcher Cooper Scott came in to pitch in relief of Van Meter. Cole Gregory scored two for Credo with a 2-RBI single and Silas Rowen-Herzog did the same off a double to close out the inning with a 7-1 lead.
Three Cubs had hits in the loss. Van Meter went 2-for-3 with three RBIs while Scott went 2-for-4 and Tanner Curran, 1-for-2.
South Fork (14-7) will graduate four seniors from its team this year: Van Meter, Scott, Cody Wyatt and Orin Paula. Van Meter, the team’s go-to pitcher; Scott, the team’s trusty short-stop and Wyatt, the team’s catcher, all enjoyed four-year careers as varsity starters with South Fork and will be a tough trio of an act to follow.
“Those are three very tough guys to replace,” Coffelt said. “Hopefully my young guys come out next season and step up.”