Weed Cougars open baseball playoffs Friday at Etna

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
The Weed Cougars did headfirst slides in the mud at home plate after their final regular season game, a victory, was called because of rain April 6 at Son's Park in Weed.

Weed High School's baseball team will open the Northern Section playoffs against a familiar foe Friday in Etna.

Seeded No. 6 in Division IV, the Cougars (13-10) are scheduled to open at No. 3 Etna (15-13) May 10 at 4 p.m.

Etna finished second in the Shasta Cascade League with a 7-3 record; one of those losses was to the Cougars, who placed fourth with a 5-6 SCL mark. Weed and Etna split a doubleheader April 22 in Etna.

"This team has made a busy hectic spring season very enjoyable and memorable," Weed head coach Josh Oates said at the end of the regular season. "I'm happy they get a shot at playoffs; they have earned it."

The Cougars won 2 of their final 3 regular season games, including a rain/lightning shortened victory over Trinity May 6 at Son's Park in Weed.

"The seniors got to finish strong on their home field with their teammates beside them," Oates said. "They all did headfirst slides on the wet grass, then slid in the mud at home. It was a very fun way to send the seniors off in their final home game. Very proud of the team, we are ready to compete in the playoffs."

Junior catcher Carlos Sanchez is No. 2 in Division IV with a .516 batting average, No. 3 in slugging at .710, and leads the Cougars with 23 runs batted in.

Oates said, "Carlos has been on fire with the bat all season. He puts the ball in play consistently (I think he only has 5 or 6 strikeouts all season). The most impressive thing about his approach at the plate is that he hits everything up the middle or to the opposite field. It is the approach we want from all hitters and he has embraced it and excelled. Very impressive season at the plate, and behind the plate he is undoubtedly one of the best defensive catchers in the league."

Junior shortstop Spencer Hall leads Division IV with 30 stolen bases and has only been thrown out stealing three times.

Junior pitcher Aidan Hagarty is ranked fifth in Division with 76 strikeouts, and sophomore James Brunello is seventh with 73 Ks.

The winner of the Weed-Etna game will advance to a semifinal May 14 against the winner of No. 7 Los Molinos at No. 2 Hamilton. Semifinals will be played at the home of the higher seed.

No. 1 Fall River, champions in the Shasta Cascade League, opens against No. 8 Biggs. The winner of that game will play either No. 4 Portola or No. 5 Quincy.

The championship game is scheduled for May 18.