The running gag for the Carlson family is who takes credit for the slugging first baseman’s baseball feats.
When Dylan Carlson does well on the diamond, which is often, mother Caryn Carlson gleefully acknowledges, “That’s my boy!” Should he commit an error? “That’s coach Carlson’s son, otherwise known as my husband,” Caryn reminded Wednesday afternoon.
Coach Carlson would be longtime Elk Grove baseball coach Jeff Carlson. The entire family was giddy after Dylan unleashed a walk-off double deep into the right-center gap to score Nick Madrigal in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Bee No. 1-ranked Thundering Herd past Vacaville 3-2 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff game at Sacramento City College.
Carlson said he was delighted to have a chance to atone for his earlier error as he celebrated his first walk-off effort of the season.
“I wanted to hit again, badly,” said Carlson, a 6-foot-3 junior who has given a verbal commitment to powerhouse Cal State Fullerton. “(Herd starting pitcher) Ty Madrigal deserved this. He pitched a hell of a game, and this is huge. It was fun to get suffocated by the whole team after that.”
Carlson said he received a hero’s hug from his father, and moments later, one from his mother, a spirited breast cancer survivor whose smile radiates any setting. Carlson pushed his mother’s wheelchair – she waved to all-comers – out of Union Stadium.
“Yep, her kid with the hit, mine with the error,” Jeff Carlson said with a laugh. “Great feeling. Dylan wanted to do it for his teammates, all these seniors. He got that pitch and took care of it. Very proud of him. He’s grown up with this game.”
Nick Madrigal, Elk Grove’s standout leadoff shortstop, reached base four times and scored twice. Carlson had two RBIs, and Brooks Day and Ryan Robards each had two hits for Elk Grove (18-9).
Vacaville (18-10), of the Monticello Empire League, tied it 2-2 on a Joey Morris sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field as Austin Del Chiaro chased it down. Kevin Kyle earned the win in relief of ace Ty Madrigal, who had some excellent moments before running into trouble in the seventh. The senior, headed to St. Mary’s in Moraga, struck out six in moving to 16-4 in his three-year Herd varsity career.
Vacaville first-year coach Stu Clary said he was impressed with Elk Grove’s team and resilience, saying, “Their shortstop can really play. We didn’t get him out all day. They have a lot of great players.”
Granite Bay 5, Jesuit 4
The Grizzlies led 4-0 after two innings, then doused any last at-bat drama when first baseman Matt McCord gloved a flare on the run, extending fully, with the bases loaded to end it in the other D-I game at Sac City.
Granite Bay, of the Sierra Foothill League, eliminated the top seed of the Delta League to set up a Saturday showdown with Elk Grove at Sac City.
Nick Frank was too ill with a high fever and a hospital visit to start Granite Bay's playoff opener on Monday, delighting only in the fact that Darren Nelson pitched admirably in a 4-1 victory over Pleasant Grove, but the junior got the win Wednesday. Frank struck out five and walked one in moving to 6-2, and Kevin Baranowski earned the save.
Leadoff hitter Ryan Ingersoll had three hits and No. 9 hitter Brett Munkdale had two hits and two runs for Granite Bay (16-11). Tanner Dodson struck out eight in his final game for Jesuit (19-9). He's headed to Cal.
Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs
ELK GROVE 3, VACAVILLE 2
Vacaville 000 010 1 - 2 5 3
Elk Grove 110 000 1 - 3 7 1
Lizarraga and Claunch. T.Madrigal, Kyle (7) and Gastellum. Top hitters: V-Bosetti 2B. EG-N.Madrigal 2x3; Carlson 2 RBI; Day 2x2; Robards 2x2.
GRANITE BAY 5, JESUIT 4
Granite Bay 220 001 0 - 5 8 1
Jesuit 000 202 0 - 4 8 1
Dodson, Morley (6) and Cantelme; Frank, Baranowski (6) and Birch. Top hitters: GB-Ingersoll 3x4; Munkdale 2x3; Schofield 2B. J-Cantelme 2x4; McAdam 2x3, 2B; Isola 2 RBI.