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Yuba City High baseball falls to Davis
It's been quite some time since the Yuba City and Davis High baseball programs played meaningful games against each other.
Sure, the two teams still meet regularly in nonconference play, it just doesn't have the same feel as when this rivalry began.
The two schools spent the better part of two decades jockeying for playoff position in the Division-I Delta League, regarded as one of the top baseball conferences in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
First-year Yuba City coach Dave Rodriguez has had a front-row seat for the majority of this rivalry. As both a player and a coach, Rodriguez knows how intense this matchup gets.
For the first time in six years, the Blue Devils have bragging rights.
Davis snapped a six-game losing streak to Yuba City that dated back to the D-I playoffs in 2006 and defeated the Honkers 8-4 under the lights of Winship Field on Friday night.
Rodriguez and Davis coach Dan Ariola first squared off against each other as rookie coaches in 1991 when both were the JV coaches of their respective programs.
"It was a typical Yuba City-Davis game," Rodriguez said. "It was close, we just made a couple more mistakes than they did. It was fun."
Yuba City (2-1) trailed 5-4 before Davis erupted in the top of the sixth inning.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Davis senior Chris Gnos smacked a two-RBI double down the right-field line. One more run came in on a wild pitch to give the Blue Devils (2-1) an 8-4 advantage.
The Honkers outhit the Blue Devils 7-5, but it was the free passes issued by the Honkers' pitching staff that came back to bite them.
Five of the runners who scored for Davis reached either by walk or were hit by a pitch.
"It's all about pitching," Rodriguez said. "Pitching is the name of the game. You have to throw strikes and, when you do, good things happen. They'll be all right."
Junior right-hander Chandler Eden labored through four innings for the Honkers on 83 pitches. He struck out five, though walked four and hit two more batters.
Gnos extended Davis' lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth with a solo shot over the center field wall off right-handed reliever Damon Bugarin.
"I love playing Yuba City," Ariola said. "It's a great program, a great environment. We hadn't beat them in a while."
Davis scored seven of its eight runs in two-out situations, including a three-run rally in the top of the second after Yuba City jumped ahead 1-0 in the first.
The Honkers responded in the bottom of the third with Jake Cormier's RBI groundout and a two-out, opposite-field single from Cooper Goldby that plated Zach Oakley.
Davis took a 4-3 lead in the fourth courtesy of an error and a wild pitch. The Blue Devils led the rest of the way.
Oakley was 2 for 3 with a double and two runs for Yuba City. Senior Robbie Kunkle finished 2 for 4 with a double and two runs.
"Sometimes when we get to the plate, I think we might be trying to do a little too much," Oakley said. "We just need to sit back and not press. Once we figure that out, I think we'll be fine."