David Smith suspected he might get some work Thursday night, but not with this sort of entry and these results.
When Elk Grove High School starter Rowdy Tellez walked off the mound with a sore left elbow after hyperextending it in a fall earlier in the week, Smith was summoned.
The 6-foot-3 junior with a breaking pitch, changeup and fastball calmly delivered one of the most memorable efforts in Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoff history, combining with Tellez on an unusual no-hitter to beat Napa 1-0 at Sacramento City College.
Tellez recorded one out before switching to first base. From there, it was a duel with Napa's Brett Obranovich, who came in 10-1 and allowed two hits before departing in the seventh. Smith struck out nine and walked two, then worked over a lollipop after the game to ease his nerves.
"I didn't expect this," said Smith, who improved to 6-0 and moved the Thundering Herd into Saturday's double-elimination round against Delta Valley Conference rival Franklin.
Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson said he has "never been more nervous than that last inning; I wanted him to have (that no-hitter) so bad. It's crazy. It's not how I drew it up. I can't say enough about David and his composure."
Nick Madrigal scored in the first inning on a Dom Nunez infield groundout. Madrigal had walked and reached third on a wild pitch.
Tellez could return to the mound Saturday.
Davis 5, Oak Ridge 2 at Sac City Ben Eckels struck out 12, and catcher George Hatamiya had a leadoff single in honor of his late mother as the Blue Devils knocked out the third and final Delta River League heavyweight from the tournament. Pleasant Grove and Jesuit lost openers on Wednesday.
Eckels pitched what he and coach Dan Ariola deemed his best game of the season. Hatamiya's mother, Nancy, died Tuesday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. She pleaded with her son to continue playing. Joe Murray had two hits and one RBI, Chris Gnos had three hits and drove in a run, Bobby Young had an RBI double, and Eckels and John Ariola each had RBIs for Davis, which plays Vacaville on Saturday at noon.
"That's why I'm out here because mom wanted me to play, and I needed to play," Hatamiya said. "Feels good to win this."
Said Ariola, "We wanted to win it for Nancy, and Ben was in control, outstanding."
Rocklin 1, Rosemont 0 at American River College Tanner McVey struck out 11, allowed two hits and overcame three Thunder errors in a Division II opener.
Christian Bennett had two of Rocklin's five hits, including driving in Jake Faulkner in the fifth. Faulkner had doubled with two outs.
McVey struck out the last batter in the fourth after his only walk. Rosemont's Sam Long allowed five hits and walked two.
Woodcreek 4, Bella Vista 0 at American River Stephen Nogosek struck out 10 and allowed three hits to eliminate the Broncos in another D-II opener.
Placer 12, River Valley 1 at Dan McAuliffe Ballparks A.J. Sanchez slugged a grand slam, Kevin Giles had four RBIs, and Ryan Mason allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine for the Hillmen in a Division III opener. Mason, the Cal-bound senior ace, also had two hits.