The 2018 Shasta Cascade League champion Mount Shasta High School baseball team is seeded No. 2 for the Northern Section Division 4 playoffs and will open the postseason with a home game Friday, May 11, at 4 p.m. against No. 7 Willows.
After a perfect 10-0 SCL season, the Bears take a 14-5 overall record into Friday’s game against a Willows team that finished third in the Sac Valley League with a 3-5 record and is 8-15 overall.
The winner of Friday’s game in Mount Shasta will advance to a semifinal game on Tuesday, May 15, against either No. 3 Colusa (22-9) or No. 6 East Nicolaus (9-8).
On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed Winters (28-1) has a first round bye and will host a semifinal game against either No. 4 Durham (13-10) or No. 5 University Prep (15-10-1).
Winters is the only Division 4 playoff team the Bears faced during the regular season, a season-opening 19-1 loss on March 9 when Mount Shasta played without some of its key players.
Winters won the section title the last three years and lost in the championship game the two years before that.
The Bears are playing in the postseason for the ninth year in a row. They’ve made it past the first round twice during that stretch, most recently in 2016 when they lost to Winters in the semifinals.
This season the Bears take a 12-game winning streak into the playoffs, including a pair of come-from-behind 3-2 walk-off victories on Friday, May 4, in Mount Shasta that lifted them to their second league championship in three years.
The Bears and Modoc were both undefeated in league going into the final regular season doubleheader, and they were still tied when game one went into extra innings. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth, Kole Riccomini stepped up to the plate and hit a single that landed in no man’s land.
Third base coach Chase Kamala sent Trent Merrill home to try and score. The outfielder hurled the ball toward home plate. It was a close play, but the umpire called Merrill safe for the first win.
Game two ended in the bottom of the seventh inning with a rare walk-off walk that capped a 10-0 SCL season for the Bears.
Some key stats for this year’s Bears:
Team batting average: .347
149 hits, 106 RBIs
Slugging Percentage: .439
On Base Percentage: .461
One home run by junior Baltazar Rodriguez
27 stolen bases
Team ERA: 2.40
Win-Loss Percentage: .786
Team fielding percentage: .964
Runs allowed in 10 league wins: 16
Shutouts in league: 4
“I feel great,” said head coach Chuck Mahan after the game. He gave an honest answer to his past couple years as head coach of the Bears. “I shouldn’t be head coach. I’m not experienced enough but, to have good players while I’m learning, it’s great. All the credit goes to these guys. I am so proud of them.”
Junior Kaden Riccomini pitched all 8 innings of the first game, striking out 11 and allowing only 2 hits and no earned runs. In the 4 SCL games he pitched, he allowed only 6 hits and no earned runs while striking out 49 and walking 2.
The Bears had 12 hits in game one, 2 each by freshman Kekai Ferguson senior Myles DeLeon, and juniors Hunter Stock and Kole Riccomini.
DeLeon, Stock and Kole Riccomini had RBIs.
Just like the first game, Modoc took a 2-0 lead in game two, but the Bears rallied. It was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 7th when Modoc’s pitcher walked the winning run in with the bases loaded and two outs.
Stock and Ian Allen both pitched for the Bears. The dynamic duo allowed a total of 8 hits.
The Bears had just 5 hits, one each by Kole Riccomini, senior Kaimana Ferguson, DeLeon, Kekai Ferguson, and Trent Merrill.
Kole Riccomini, DeLeon, and Kaimana Ferguson had RBIs.