No quit in Sonoma State despite loss
Seawolves fall just short in another comeback bid in Cary
CARY, N.C. -- Sonoma State is the team that won’t go away. No matter how hard an opponent tries to put away the Seawolves, they keep coming back, sort of like mosquitoes in the muggy summer air.
It didn’t matter that logic said the game was over against No. 5 West Florida Tuesday night at the Division II Championship. The Seawolves weren’t buying into it.
They continued to fight, for nine innings here on a humid evening at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. But unlike their riveting comeback against top-ranked Grand Valley State two nights ago, this one wasn’t good enough, leaving the Seawolves on the wrong end of a 5-4 loss to the Argonatuts.
Sonoma State managed to out-hit West Florida 8-7 but was unable to generate offense against West Florida closer Shane Waller.
Still, if someone had told Sonoma State head coach John Goelz that his team would have a chance to win a game against West Florida with Alex Todd and Kyle Jones batting in the ninth with one out, he would have taken his chances in a heartbeat.
“They are both great hitters, and nine times out of 10, they come up with a hit,” Goelz said. “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to find a way to win because we played hard and gave ourselves a chance at the end.”
The Seawolves have become a drama magnet here in the national tournament. In its opener against the Lakers, Sonoma State erased a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the fifth and earned the win when Todd came through with a clutch hit in the 11th inning.
Goelz pointed to one reason why his team has been so successful at staying alive even when hope e seems to have been buried.
“Every team here is a championship team,” Goelz said. “It’s hard to pull away from anyone at this tournament. We have to put this game behind us and get ready for the next one.”
Sonoma State scored four runs in the seventh to make things interesting. Garrett Schwartz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in a run and Cameron Cook knocked in a run on a ground out to help fuel the comeback.
But with Shane Waller on the mound for the Argonauts (50-9), a comeback was next to impossible for the Sea wolves (37-21). Waller’s teammate, Taye Larry, will tell you as much.
“I have faced him in practice and it’s not any fun,” Larry said. “His pitches are ridiculous and we have all the confidence in the world when he is out there.”
As for Sonoma State, Goelz isn’t going to let his team get rattled as it prepares for an elimination game against Southern Connecticut State today.
“We still have a chance to win the championship,” Goelz said. “We are really excited about another opportunity to play and we know if we play good baseball we’ll have a shot. We’ll play hard and give it our best and see what happens.”