Woodland High School’s baseball team won the DII Sac-Joaquin Section title last night against Bella Vista. That’s huge. IIRC, WHS hasn’t won the title since 1992 or 1993, so congrats to all, especially our friend Danny Eoff, the pitching coach!
Sac Bee article, reprinted in part for posterity:
Sac-Joaquin section baseball playoffs: Wolves satisfy their hunger for title
After falling short last year, Woodland routs Bella Vista.
LODI — The Woodland High School baseball team waited one year for another shot at a section title. When the opportunity finally arrived Monday, the Wolves wasted little time staking their claim to it.
With a 16-2 rout over Bella Vista in a game shortened to five innings, Woodland won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II crown. The Wolves lost last year’s championship game to Benicia, and the memory of it stayed with them until an onslaught of runs assured them a celebration.
“We were motivated a lot by it,” pitcher Mark Laugenour said. “We thought we were going to win it last year. This year, we got the job done. It’s awesome.”
Laugenour provided much of the offensive punch, too, slugging a two-run triple in the third inning. By then, though, the Wolves already had pummeled the Broncos for seven runs, including six in a furious second-inning outburst that was aided by two Bella Vista errors.
Woodland finished the year 28-2, winning Monday’s game in the same fashion as it had rampaged through the season — with a balanced offense, strong pitching and a knack for taking advantage of opportunities.
“This is what we preach at Woodland,” coach Javy Valdivia said. “We try to be fundamentally sound, to not make mistakes and to swing the bats well. Every year, we expect to get to the playoffs, but this was a long time coming. It was an unbelievable year.”
But even Valdivia couldn’t predict his offense’s proficiency Monday.
“I didn’t expect all these runs,” he said, “but I’ll take them anytime.”
After avenging last year’s loss by defeating Benicia in the best-of-three semifinal, the Wolves took nothing for granted. Even with the big lead, they continued to produce runs — three in both the third and fourth innings and four more in the fifth.
With each run scored and each inning passed, the anxiousness grew.
“We got the big inning, and after that we just wanted to get it done,” said second baseman Brandon Lockwood, who delivered a two-run double during the pivotal second inning.
With an out needed to end the game, Laugenour walked two batters and hit another one to force in two runs, ending his shutout bid and forcing Valdivia to call on Sean McGinnis to record the final out.
“I was so anxious,” Laugenour said. “I couldn’t get the inning over. But I just wanted to be part of that dog pile.”
More details from the Daily Democrat:
Title town, CA
Wolves rout Broncos
By GARY TRAYNHAM/Democrat sports Editor
LODI – Reviving memories of 14 years ago, Woodland’s Wolves won their second section baseball championship Monday night.
In exceeding their wildest expectations, the Sierra Foothill League champions routed Bella Vista 16-2 in five innings at Tony Zupo Field.
Like their first section title under Rob Rinaldi, the Wolves rewarded a first-year coach with a championship.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said Wolves coach Javier Valdivia. “We are gamers. We jumped out early and didn’t quit.”
Junior left-hander Mark Laugenour dominated until the fifth inning when his control went awry. He gave up just a double to Tyler Robertson and a single to Ben Schwefel in the first inning.
After two outs in the fifth, he walked three and hit two batters. Senior Sean McGinnis relieved to get the final out.
“I was hoping I could finally finish a game. I got two strikes, but couldn’t close it out,” Laugenour said.
“I’m speechless. This is awesome. I feel like I’m in a dream. There’s no greater goal than winning a section championship. We left our mark.”
Bella Vista used four pitchers none of which was ace Tyler Robertson, who had 8 2/3 innings Thursday.
Woodland pounced on starter John Constance, who had beaten them in the postseason last year. In 2 2/3 innings, Constance gave up eight runs on six hits.
“They got it rolling and we didn’t,” Bella Vista coach Bill Richardson said. “I congratulate their program. It’s a bitter pill.
“I feel like I let down some of the guys. But I threw an all-leaguer.”
Overall, Laugenour walked eight and hit two while striking out eight.
Laugenour and Adrian Perez hit back-to-back doubles for a run in the first inning.
Woodland erupted for five runs on four hits in the second inning. After one out, Garrett Wright was hit by a pitch and Kyle Gallagher and Alex Kershner hit successive singles to load the bases. With two outs, Brandon Lockwood singled to score Wright and Gallagher and Kershner scored on a wild throw from the outfield that went into the dugout.
Laugenour was hit by a pitch before Perez hit a grounder to third base that was thrown wildly to second base. Laugenour scored scored on Shawn Reynold’s single.
Woodland scored three more in the third on three walks before Laugenour’s triple in the right field corner.
The scoring parade continued in the fourth with three more. Zach Vawter-Scoggins singled up the middle before Wright legged out an infield single and Gallagher bunted for a hit to load the bases.
Kershner walked, forcing in a run. Robert Abel was safe on a throwing error that scored Wright. Kershner scored when Laugenour walked with the bases loaded.
Reynolds put an exclamation point on the rout with a long home run to right-center field leading off the fifth inning.