Two years ago, Cameron Eden watched in awe as his brother Chandler threw a no-hitter to win a section championship.
On Monday afternoon at Sacramento City College’s Union Stadium, where his brother made history, it was Cameron’s chance to shine. He didn’t pitch, but he devoured one, hitting a two-run homer to left field in the first inning and leading the celebratory dog pile as Yuba City High School held off crosstown rival River Valley 6-3 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title, the Honkers’ sixth in nine seasons.
Chandler Eden, who beat Colfax 2-0 with a 14-strikeout gem in 2013, kept tabs on his kid brother’s performance via social media. Chandler pitches for Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz., and has committed to Texas Tech.
“I remember when Chandler did that, thinking that I couldn’t wait to play for a championship here,” said Cameron Eden, a shortstop. “I never pictured homering here, but I was thinking of my grandparents before that at-bat, remembering who I play for.”
Family and loyalty are big with Yuba City, a program long marked by brothers. The Honkers won four successive section titles from 2007 to 2010 under coach Jim Stassi, a Yuba City alum, and his standout sons Brock, Jake and Max. Current Yuba City coach Dave Rodriguez, another Honkers alum, was an assistant on those teams. He now has two titles of his own.
Still, this was no easy season for Yuba City (20-12), which placed fourth in the Tri-County Conference and toppled higher seeds in the playoffs, none more satisfying than River Valley (19-14), which opened 10 years ago.
“What a ride,” Rodriguez said, moments after Isaiah Rodriguez, a cousin, earned the save.
Honkers starter Austin Southward had a no-hitter through five innings in winning his third playoff game. Taylor Doyle also homered and drove in three runs, giving him 14 for the playoffs.
And that Eden family?
“The Eden family has been great to me,” Rodriguez said. “Cameron played big, just like his brother.”
Lincoln 9, Placer 7 – The Zebras beat the Hillmen twice to win the Pioneer Valley League and did it once more at Union Stadium in the Division IV final for the program’s first section championship.
Placer scored three times in the top of the seventh to make it interesting in a game marred by an early injury and nine errors.
Lincoln (23-6) led 5-0 after the first inning, which featured Robbie Higgins’ two-run single. Standout Zebras shortstop Isaiah Garcia tripled and scored on an error in the second inning, and the senior recorded the final out as Lincoln ended the season with a 15-game winning streak.
Craig Schmich earned the victory for the Zebras. The Hillmen (20-10) planned to start ace Tyler Gums, but he never made it to the mound. Gums was sidelined after injuring an ankle while on offense in the top of the first.
“It’s terrible what happened to Gums,” Lincoln coach Jon O’Connor said. “You want to face them as a team, and he’s a good kid. I feel for him.”
O’Connor also felt for his team, which lost 2-0 to Pioneer in the D-III final last season.
Roseville (20-12) managed just two hits off Rylan Haney, the ace for the Vikings (22-9), but countered with superb defense.
D-II: Roseville vs, Vanden, late
D-III: Yuba City 6,
River Valley 3
D-IV: Lincoln 9, Placer 7
D-V: Capital Christian vs.
D-VI: Bradshaw Christian 7, Mariposa 6
D-VII: Brookside Christian 7, Valley Christian 6