NCS baseball: Montgomery holds Newark Memorial hitless in 3-2 win

Montgomery's Lucas Buchmann falls into the fence while making a catch and out during the Vikings NCS Division 2 second round playoff game against Newark Memorial in Santa Rosa on Friday, May 23, 2014. (CONNER JAY / THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)

Montgomery’s Lucas Buchmann falls into the fence while making a catch and out during the Vikings NCS Division 2 second round playoff game against Newark Memorial in Santa Rosa on Friday, May 23, 2014. (CONNER JAY / THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)


Giving an opponent the lead without yielding any hits in a game isn’t a good thing, yet Montgomery settled down and managed to scratch out another section playoff win.

Newark Memorial scored the tying and go-ahead runs on a walk and hit batter in the fourth inning, but Montgomery came back, knocking in a pair of runners in each of the next two innings to pull out a 3-2 victory and advance to the North Coast Section Division 2 semifinals.

“We worked hard and got the key hits,” Vikings’ shortstop Mitchell West said. “We know we can beat any team in the tournament.”

The teams came into the contest hungry after opening with road wins over higher-ranked opponents. Both defenses were sharp and the batters disciplined. Montgomery made more of scoring opportunities with Lucas Buchmann, Zac Merriken and Nick Smith knocking in the Vikings’ runs.

“We came off a huge win. We’ve been playing great,” said Newark Memorial standout Thomas Gallagher. “It’s tough to go down like that.”

Anthony Prince and Josh Lenney combined on a no-hitter that sends Montgomery into the next round against the winner of Petaluma and College Park, set for today.

Pitching helped carry Montgomery to second place in the North Bay League and the Vikings have been strong on the mound in the section playoffs.

Friday starter Anthony Prince was alternately sharp and wild. After escaping a first-inning jam of his own making — allowing three walks — Prince kept Newark Memorial mostly in check.

He had two outs in the fourth before walking two, and forcing in the tying run at the time.

Lenney relieved him, only to hit the first batter he faced with the only curveball he threw in the contest. That brought in the Cougars’ second run. He finished the contest allowing only one walk.

“I just settled down and threw strikes,” Lenney said. “I figured we had plenty of game left.”

With the lead, Newark Memorial went to ace William Traynor, who took over after three solid innings from Edgar Gonzalez. Traynor shut out No. 3-seeded Clayton Valley Charter on Tuesday.

“It’s all hands on deck at this point,” said Newark coach Phil Castellanos. “Montgomery’s a tough team. They swing the bats well and have good senior leadership.”

Montgomery scored against Traynor in the fifth inning. Rylan Kobre chopped an infield single, Matt Miller sacrificed pinch runner Charles Keller to second and Merriken drove an opposite field grounder down the first base line to tie the contest at 2-2.

Lenney followed with a shutdown inning and Montgomery found a way to win.

Newark’s third pitcher, Jacob Ramirez, entered the contest in the sixth, and made quick work of the first two Vikings batters. Then he hit Buchmann. Smith followed with a double to right-center field to score pinch runner Joe Peterich.

“They have good guys on the mound,” Montgomery coach Dean Haskins said. “We’ve been a lot more patient at the plate, putting the ball up the middle and going the other way.”

The final inning proved to be another test for Montgomery pitching.

Lenney walked the first hitter on four pitches and threw three more balls to the next batter before getting a pair of strikes, and then a double-play grounder to West. A fly ball to center field closed the win.

Both teams battled to the end, no longer underdogs.

When the playoffs opened, neither Montgomery nor Newark Memorial was expected to advance. Montgomery was seeded 11th and Newark Memorial 14th in the 16-team NCS Division 2 field.

“This division is deep. Any team can bite you,” Castellanos said.

Montgomery is still hungry.

“No one thought we could get this far,” West said. “We get to play another week. That’s always good.”

Michael Coit can be reached at

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