Reaching double-digit wins is a strong indicator of a special season for a high school pitcher.
Elk Grove’s Ty Madrigal achieved that milestone Friday night in a 5-0 victory over St. Mary’s of Stockton in the opening game of the best-of-three Sac-Joaquin Section Division I baseball championship series at Sacramento City College.
Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at noon at SCC. Game 3, if necessary, will follow.
Madrigal (10-3) dominated a Rams team that came in hitting .306. The senior left-hander allowed two hits, struck out 10, walked two and hit one. It was his 13th start and 14th appearance overall.
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“That’s outstanding to get 10 wins in a year in the limited amount of games you can start,” said Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson. “He’s almost won every time he’s gone out there. Anytime you do that, you are going to be successful.”
Madrigal’s teammates provided him with a nice offensive cushion.
No. 9 hitter Peyton Wheatley went 2 for 3, including a two-run triple, and No. 8 Aaron Wong, the designated hitter, had two hits and two RBIs to lead Elk Grove’s eight-hit attack.
“Those were clutch knocks by Aaron Wong and Peyton Wheatley,” Madrigal said. “The bottom of the lineup really stepped up.”
With shortstop Nick Madrigal, Ty’s twin, leading the way defensively, Elk Grove played error-free and turned two double plays.
Ty Madrigal had no idea he was going for his 10th win.
“Not till you said it right there,” Ty Madrigal said. “I just try to go out there and compete every day and give our team a chance to win. I try to throw strikes, pitch relaxed and let my defense do the work for me.”
Only one St. Mary’s runner reached second base, and the Rams went hitless after DH Matt Avila led off the third inning with a single. Madrigal struck out four batters looking as he mixed his fastball and curve with an occasional changeup.
Carlson said it might have been the best performance of Madrigal’s star-studded career.
“In this setting, a section final, Friday night game, that ranks right at the top,” Carlson said. “St. Mary’s is an outstanding team, and he just dominated.”
Madrigal got all the support he needed in the bottom of the second, when the Thundering Herd scored three times to break a scoreless tie.
With one out, Brooks Day doubled off Jarron Silva’s glove in deep center, then moved to third on Ty Madrigal’s sacrifice bunt.
After Landon Gastelum walked, Wong singled to right to score Day, then Wheatley tripled to deep center on a ball that Silva misjudged to drive in two more runs.
Nick Madrigal scored in the fifth on Carlos Moseley’s sacrifice fly, and Wong drove in Day with a single in the sixth.
A win on Saturday would give Elk Grove (23-10) its ninth section title and first since beating St. Mary’s in the finals in 2013. The Thundering Herd is in the finals for the eighth time since 2002, having won it five times. St. Mary's (21-13) is in the finals for the seventh successive season and has won three titles during that span.
“I’m happy, win or lose, if the kids give everything and play good baseball on Saturday,” Carlson said. “St. Mary’s is not going to just sit down for us. They’ve got some good players. They are going to get after us.”