Ryan Evangelho packs a wad of pocket-size papers to chart notes and thoughts on what his Sierra College baseball team must improve on.
It might be effort plays, pitch counts, base-running judgment.
On Saturday afternoon in Rocklin, the Wolverines coach pulled out his trusty corrector sheet and revealed, to his giddy group, that it was clean. Nary a concern, and no wonder, since the No. 2-seeded Wolverines made quick work of No. 17 Sequoias, cruising 8-0 to win a best-of-three Northern California regional 2-0.
Sierra (31-7) has eight such regional banners in 10 years and now targets a fourth super regional title next weekend at a sight to be determined. On Friday, Sierra beat the Giants of Visalia (20-18) 15-3.
Ever the perfectionist coach, Evangelho jotted down a lot of "must-fix" pointers on his sheet.
"(Friday), this was full," he said, eyeing his blank pad. "(Saturday), we were great. It's exciting. They came ready to play."
The Wolverines were sharp in every facet and looked like the top-ranked club in Northern California by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.
Left fielder Kyle Buchanan led a 14-hit attack with two triples and a single, driving in four runs. Third baseman Dustin Vaught had three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Before dazzling with superb defensive plays, Vaught smacked a two-run double to open the scoring in the first inning, and Buchanan had a two-run triple for a 4-0 lead.
Buchanan's two-run triple in the third gave the Wolverines a 6-0 advantage to seize control. All of this offensive production despite the absence of leading hitter Nick Blaser, the co-MVP of the brutally competitive Big 8 Conference. Blaser, batting .397 in league play, was bedridden for this tournament with strep throat.
Matt Fielding tossed six innings of five-hit ball, walking one and striking out four to move to 6-3. Devon Golden, Tanner McVey and Kea Vierra all worked an inning of relief, with Vierra earning his 13th save. Some 20 minutes after the final out, all hands got a hoot of their unsuspecting coach falling victim to a Gatorade celebration bath.
"We have good energy and really feed off of each other," Fielding said. "I see Vaught make a great play at third base, and it gets me even more excited. We're one big family."
Fielding planned to board a plane at the crack of dawn this morning for a recruiting trip to Kansas. He's also drawing interest from Sacramento State and UC Davis.
If there is one talking point Evangelho might consider noting, it would read something like this: more seats. A lack of bleacher seating could cost Sierra the opportunity to host a super regional, a four-team, three-day, double-elimination round that starts Friday.
"We'd love to host, and we'll find out soon if we do," Evangelho said.