January 17, 2018
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Rancho returns from dead

By: Irene Hilsendager
October 20, 2017
Talk about your unbelievable comebacks

The Rancho Cotati Major Stars rose from the dead on Wednesday as they overcame an 11-0 first inning deficit to stun Santa Rosa Westside, 18-12, at the 25th annual Rohnert Park All-Star Invitational.

Trailing 11-0, Rancho chipped away at Santa Rosa and pulled even, 12-12, after five innings. Then, in the sixth, coach Dave Dejong’s squad rallied for six more runs to complete a near unbelievable come from behind victory.

“I’ve never seen a comeback like this ever,” admitted DeJong, whose club is 4-1 bound for this weekend’s tournament playoffs (opponent TBA). “Before the game even started, my assistant coach (Mike Denning) told the kids that if they won that he would treat them all to pizza after the game…It was the best pizza I’ve ever had and I don’t think he has ever been so happy abut dropping $100 in his life.”

Jeremy Brewer, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a solo home run and three RBIs, led the assault. In fact, it’s the 12-year-old who spearheaded Rancho’s winning sixth inning rally with a two-run double.

Early in the contest, Brewer and his teammates could only watch in frustration, as Santa Rosa Westside put on a hitting clinic in the first inning.

“They just hammered the ball all over the park,” said DeJong, who noted that his club loaded the bases in the top of the first inning only to tally a goose egg and strand all three runners.

Rancho, however, began the slow process of climbing back into the game with a five-run outburst in the second inning highlighted by a pair of two-run singles by Joe McMackin and Joe Dennning, who each went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs.

In the third, Denning delivered a two-run double to cut the gap to 11-7. In the fourth, Brewer delivered his solo homer over the center field wall to make it 11-8.

Then, in the fifth, the Rancho offense continued its assault with four more runs to take a short-lived 12-11 lead. David Able, McMackin and Denning all contributed RBI singles in the fifth for Rancho.

Santa Rosa, however, struck back with a single run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game and set up Rancho’s winning sixth inning rally.

Darrel Brant, who was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs, got things started with a single and McMackin followed suite. After Denning stroked an RBI single, Brewer followed with his second double of the evening-a two-run blow. After Able and Priolo walked to load the bases, Eddie Ostrand and Nick Roccanello drew consecutive RBI walks. Then, in the confusion after Roccanello’s free pass, Brewer scampered home with the final run of the evening. Matt Carlson (1/3 IP, & R, 6 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 0 K), Priolo (2-2/3 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K) and McMackin (3 IP. 1 R, 1ER, 4 H) BB, 1 K) handled the pitching chores for Rancho on the evening. 

“The kids just went wild after the game. It was as if they had won the World Series,” said DeJong. “Needless to say, we really enjoyed our pizza.” 

That’s right, what a comeback…and with a pizza topper to boot. Whew! Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.

 Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.