A month ago, Tyler Blake wasn't sure how many innings he would pitch this season. Or how effective he would be.
He has a pretty clear indication now.
With the 6-foot-7 junior left-hander looking fit and focused and his teammates smacking 10 hits, the Franklin Wildcats belted rival Elk Grove 9-1 Saturday in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoff game at Sacramento City College.
Blake rested a tender pitching elbow for most of the season, tossed a complete-game 4-0 shutout against Grant to help secure a playoff berth and continued his dominance here. He took a shutout into the seventh inning, negating a Thundering Herd lineup known for its firepower.
Although he struck out just two batters, Blake pitched effectively and also had two hits and an RBI as the Wildcats improved to 3-0 in the postseason for the first time.
"I'm tired, but I feel good," a winded Blake said after running the postgame conditioning drills that are mandatory for all pitchers, win or lose. "I love pitching and this team. Glad to be back on the mound."
Josh Pigg had a two-run single and Kyle Von Ruden a three-run triple to highlight a six-run third inning.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats will face Davis, another familiar foe that tied Elk Grove for the Delta Valley Conference championship. Franklin finished third, though it did have wins over Elk Grove and Davis.
"The guys are playing well," Franklin coach Bryan Kilby said. "Tyler Blake was phenomenal on the mound, Pigg had a great game at the plate, Kyle was unbelievable (at second base), and his three-run triple was a backbreaker."
Davis 4, Vacaville 3 at Sac City Hayden Duer had a walk-off single in the eighth inning to lift the Blue Devils, who moved to 2-0 in this unpredictable, tense tournament. Davis overcame three errors and used a double play in the eighth to avoid the losers' bracket.
Davis starter Matt Trask allowed no hits and left with a 3-2 lead in the third, and reliever Reinert Toft struck out five and allowed two hits. Vacaville starter Deandre Casovia struck out four and walked six. Chris Gnos, Bobby Young and Ben Eckels each had an RBI for Davis. Vacaville will play Elk Grove on Monday night in an elimination game.
Granite Bay 4, McClatchy 3 at American River College Devin Lehman hit the go-ahead RBI single in the fifth inning, and Gabe Meza tossed two close-out innings for the Grizzlies, who took Game 1 of the best-of-three Division II series. Lehman had six RBIs in an 11-3 opening-round win over Del Campo on Friday.
Rocklin 9, Woodcreek 0 at American River In the other D-II three-game series opener, Austin Dick tossed a complete-game four-hitter with four strikeouts and one walk, and Timberwolves pitchers hit eight batters.