By Annika Bereny
DANVILLE, CA—Following a grueling 3 hours and 45 minutes of play Friday afternoon that ultimately ended in an 11-11 tie after 10 innings, the Walnut Creek Crawdads (5-3 CCL) rallied back Saturday to secure a 7-5 win against the West Coast Kings (0-4-1 CCL NL) in just over two hours.
Bay Area personality Ike Shehadeh of Ike’s Love & Sandwiches fame threw out the ceremonial first pitch on a sunny Danville afternoon. He had spent the last two hours fielding, pitching, and hitting with the Crawdads, as well as very generously bringing them some of his signature sandwiches.
Homer heavy were the offenses of both teams today, with 3 of the Kings’ runs coming from home runs, both by Tanner Griffith, a recent high school graduate committed to St. Mary’s College. The future Gael’s first of the afternoon came on just the second pitch he saw from Crawdads pitcher Tyler Wood, flying over the right field wall as his teammates whooped in the away dugout. An RBI single by catcher Aidan Camberg (UC Santa Barbara) would bring his teammate Jake French (San Francisco State) home to give the Kings an early 2-0 lead on the Crawdads.
Walnut Creek refused to let this game be easy for the Kings, though, and got themselves on the board in the bottom of the first after a sacrifice fly from the birthday boy himself, Cameron Calvillo (Gonzaga University), brought centerfielder Casey Cummings home from second. The inning would end with a one run deficit for the Crawdads, but that wouldn’t last for long.
Five of Walnut Creek’s runs on Saturday came due to home runs, and that show of power began in the bottom of the second as catcher Sam Gilliam (Sacramento State) homered over the scoreboard in left field to tie the game up. Just one inning later left fielder Ryan Brome (Texas Tech) hit a home run of his own, allowing the Crawdads to take the lead for the first time that game.
The West Coast Kings were nothing if not determined for this to be a close game though and they tied the game up in the top of the fifth after a line drive to left field by Jake French to bring Jeff Cambra (Occidental) home from second.
Reminiscing on the long, long game of Friday evening, Ryan Brome hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth and the Crawdads retook the lead. Shortly after, Tyson Pointer (University of Texas-Arlington) stole both second and third base, being brought home on a sacrifice flyout by his fellow Texan, shortstop Matt King (University of Texas-San Antonio).
Just when Walnut Creek may have forgotten about Tanner Griffth, the outfielder sent one way past his Crawdad counterparts for a 2-run home run that tied up the game, again.
But, as the game passed the two hour mark, the Crawdads were determined to finish their day early and attend the Father’s Day barbeque planned for after the game. Second baseman Griffin Harrison refused to be left out of the action and put up his very own solo home run to, once again, regain the lead for Walnut Creek. A double by the now-20-year-old Cam Calvillo brought first baseman Emmitt Phinney (Ohlone College) home for a two run lead that the West Coast Kings would be unable to come back from, sealing the deal for the Crawdads who improved to 7-3-1 on the season.
DVY collectibles Player of the Game Ryan Brome spoke to media after the game, observing that even after just two weeks, the Crawdads’ timing in the batter’s box is vastly improving. “I think as the season goes on, you’re just gonna start seeing more that we’re a really good squad,” Brome said. “Guys are getting on time and on your own time you get more hits.” Brome, with his two home runs of the day, will look to see that from his teammates as well as improve on his own record set today.
Next up, the Walnut Creek Crawdads will head to Lincoln to face the Potters, seeking to build on their winning record against a team with a notoriously loyal home crowd.