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Baseball juggernaut

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The well-oiled St. Vincent baseball machine was functioning on all cylinders again on Tuesday evening as the Mustangs easily brushed past second-place Sonoma Academy, 14-3, to extend the current unbeaten win streak to 23 games. A six-run second inning set the tone for the rout in a game played at Doyle Park in Santa Rosa.

St. Vincent had no trouble with Coyote freshman pitcher Tyler Nordby, who gave them trouble in the first close game between the two teams. The Mustangs were able to get lift on hard-hit balls in the second frame that included a long double by catcher Gio Antonini.

Antonini was credited with three RBIs in the early evening contest.

A couple of batters later, it was junior third baseman Trent Free who went one base further when he smoked a line drive to the base of the Doyle Park left field fence for a triple. The Mustangs scored six runs on five hits in the inning, and all of the balls hit were struck very well.

Free had his second RBI in the fourth inning when he hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Ethan Rapoport also had a couple of RBIs.

Nordby, who throws multiple curveballs, struggled with his command, and he was followed by four other Coyote pitchers, but none could slow down the Mustang attack. Included in the pitching parade for Sonoma was knuckle-balling Byron Spars, whose floating deliveries were also no mystery.

The top half of the Mustang lineup came away with six hits and nine runs. Antonini, Andrew Kohler and Rapoport all were each credited with two hits.

Left-hander Rapoport went five innings and gave up three scattered runs to pick up the victory for St. Vincent. The senior struck out seven in the short game that was halted by the mercy rule. Rapoport walked only two Coyote batters in picking up his 12th win for the season, one of the top pitching marks in Northern California.

Both teams had 10 hits in the game, but it was the heavier-hitting Mustangs who accounted for the longer drives with a couple of doubles and a triple.

The Coyotes, with an overall record of 11-7, got a solid game from catcher Oscar McCauley, who raised his North Central League II-leading average to .517 with two more hits. He also gunned down a St. Vincent baserunner at second base.

Freshman Colin Dewees had two hits for Sonoma Academy.

Both teams will be in the North Coast Section Division V playoffs when the pairings are announced on Sunday.

St. Vincent finishes the regular season on Thursday when it travels to Santa Rosa again to meet Rincon Valley Christian.

The Mustangs continue to be the highest ranked Division V team in the NCS. Branson of Ross, St. Bernard of Eureka and Berean Christan of Walnut Creek round out the top four in the Max Prep projections.

Consecutive victory No. 21 for the Mustangs came against the Technology Titans. Technology gave the Mustangs a battle for three innings. Going into the last of the fourth it was a 1-1 game, but in the fatal fourth, St. Vincent exploded for nine runs. A solo tally in the fifth ended the game via the 10-run rule.

Twelve of the 15 outs recorded by St. Vincent pitcher Gio Antonini came on strikeouts. He allowed just one hit.

St. Vincent had 11 hits in the victory, with Matt Pierson collecting three and Reno Nalducci, Trent Free and AJ Wright two apiece. Pierson drove in four runs.