Vikings roll to Rabinovitz title

Montgomery third baseman Anthony Becker throws the ball to first after tagging out Maria Carrillo runner Luca Spence during their game at Montgomery High on Monday, April 18, 2011. (BETH SCHLANKER/ PD)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

In his eight years at the helm of Montgomery’s baseball program, Dean Haskins has had many memorable moments.

However, nothing he’d experienced could match the way he felt Monday afternoon watching his players defeat Maria Carrillo, 9-3, in the championship game of the 17th annual Al Rabinovitz Tournament.

It wasn’t so much that the host Vikings won the tournament, it was what his players had accomplished to get there.

“This was a team that lost seven straight games to open the season,” Haskins said. “Instead of hanging their heads and giving up, they challenged themselves. Now we’ve won six straight, including the Rabinovitz.

“I’ve never been prouder of a group of kids. This is a very satisfying moment for me and the coaching staff.”

Alec Kobre, who led the Montgomery basketball team in scoring, once again showed he’s a two-sport athlete. The senior picked up his second win of the season, pitching the first four innings and leaving with a 7-2 lead.

Jacob Lukacic then came on to close out the game without giving up an earned run.

It was the first time in nine years, the Vikings have won the tournament.

Montgomery took a commanding lead by scoring five runs in the second. Karl Nimtz and Cameron Hall had the key hits.

Hall finished with two hits and three RBIs and his season batting average is just over .450.

“I’m seeing the ball real well lately and I’ve been going with the pitch,” Hall said. “Both my hits were on outside pitches and I just I put the bat on the ball.

“It’s exciting being where we are now after the way we started. We have a lot of momentum and are feeling confident.”

This week will tell whether Montgomery is a contender for the North Bay League title. The Vikings (4-2) host league leader Rancho Cotate (6-0) on Wednesday and visit Cardinal Newman (5-1) on Thursday.

“It’s good that we go into those games with confidence,” Kobre said. “We know we can play we the top teams.’

Hall and Anthony Becker were the big run producers for the Vikings, each picking up three RBIs. Matt Dethlefsen also had a solid game, going 2-for-3.

Michael Francis and Tyler Henney each had two hits for the Pumas (3-3 in the NBL).

“We made a couple of mental and fielding mistakes that cost us,” Carrillo coach Derek DeBenedetti said. “We didn’t make some plays that we should’ve made.

“Usually. the team that doesn’t make mistakes wins the game. Give the credit to Montgomery, they put the ball in play.”

The Pumas have two home games this week, Wednesday against Santa Rosa and Friday versus Ukiah.

“These are must win games if we’re going to challenge in league,” DeBenedetti said.

In the third-place game of the Rabinovitz, Analy defeated Santa Rosa, 13-2. The consolation championship went to Petaluma, a 16-0 winner over Windsor in a game shortened to five innings because of the score.