Wet weather and irregular practice couldn’t stop the Sonoma State Seawolves from pulling in a 3-1 series win against the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos across four games held at Sonoma State over the weekend.
Despite their name, it’s the rain that has proven the Seawolves’ stiffest opponent this year. Sonoma County has experienced a record breaking wet winter and the intermittent deluge has rendered many of Rohnert Park’s fields unplayable. This is a bit of problem when it comes to piecing together a nationally competitive baseball team, like the Sonoma State Seawolves; while rain might flood the fields of Rohnert Park, there’s no guarantee that a place like Los Angeles, or San Luis Obispo in this case, will suffer the same downpour.
Every cancelled practice is another step the Seawolves fall farther behind. They add up. And after a dismal loss last week to the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros, the Seawolves were feeling demoralized. According to the Seawolves’ coach, John Goelz, their weekend win over the Broncos puts them back on track.
“We needed this win. We’ve been struggling to get onto this field and practice. I think the more we play the better this team will play,” Goelz said. “Against San Diego we had six straight days where we were indoors and then we had to go down and play. They were good. It put us in a hole and so this is us digging ourselves out of that hole.”
Close might not be a strong enough word to describe the first game of the series.
After three scoreless innings, the Broncos started off with a 3-0 lead over the Seawolves in the fourth. They held onto the lead and increased it all the way up through the sixth, but then in the seventh the Seawolves Kory Brown and John Abate finally got their team on the board.
But their efforts weren’t enough to even out the score. With their backs against the wall in the ninth inning, the Seawolves went into a frenzy. A double hit by Jack Pridy brought two of his teammates home and evened up the score. Now tied, the game went into extra innings. The two teams remained evenly matched until a home run by Seawolf Joshua Medina ended the game 6-5.
The second game of the series was not so hotly contested. The Broncos built a 7-0 lead in the fourth quarter and carried it through the rest of the game. The Seawolves struggled to get on the board and they finally managed it in the fifth inning when an error by the Broncos’ third baseman let two Seawolves get home.
A few points weren’t enough to overcome the Broncos’ advantage, however. The Seawolves lost their only game of the series 9-4.
“It all boils down to pitching and consistent defense. I think we put more balls in play hard and we pitched better,” Goelz said. “This is a great series for us. In the past ten years there’s only been three teams that have gone to the national conference. Playing against these guys and knowing their past history and tradition and knowing our past history and tradition—it makes for a great college baseball game.”
Sunday was a different beast entirely.
The third game of the series saw the Seawolves come out of the dugout with a slow but steady pattern of play that ground down the Broncos’ defense. They ran up the score to a significant 7-2 lead as the game wound towards its conclusion. The Broncos rallied in the ninth inning, shrinking the lead to 7-4, but the game still ultimately ended in a Seawolf victory.
Finally, in the fourth and last game of the series the Seawolves started strong with four runs in the first inning. The Broncos fired back in the second to tie things up, but that’s where their steam ran out. For seven innings the Broncos struggled and failed to bring their runners home, despite numerous on-base hits. The game and the series ended with Seawolf 9-5 victory.
“No, we didn’t have one good game. We won a game, but we didn’t have a good one,” Bronco coach, Randy Betten, said. “I don’t think the [Seawolves] played better than us. I think they won three games. We could compete better. It comes from within. I don’t know how to pull it out. Coaches try and we come up with different ways, but at the end all I can do is try to put them in the best position to be successful.”
Unfortunately for the Seawolves, rain is scheduled to come back this week and that means more wet fields and more cancellations. Their next opponents will be the San Bernardino Coyotes and that series will be away over the March 30 and 31 weekend.