San Marcos Baseball Defeats Westlake and Punches Ticket to CIF-SS Division 3 Championship Game
Caden Hodina Tossed a Complete Game Shutout
Owen Estabrook knew that he would get a first-pitch fastball from Westlake’s junior USC-commit Dylan Volantis and he didn’t miss it.
The senior Columbia-bound catcher launched a two-run homer over the right-field fence in the bottom of the fifth inning and the San Marcos High baseball team held on for a 2-0 victory over visiting Westlake in the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals.
“In that third at-bat, I had kind of seen all his stuff and I knew what I was getting. The last couple guys he had been flashing a first pitch fastball and I jumped on it,” Estabrook said. “I knew it was going to be there, I sold out for it, and I got it.
The Royals will now advance to the first CIF Championship Game in program history.
“It’s been the dream for the majority of us in our lives, in our baseball careers, to win a CIF Championship,” Estabrook said. “We’re on track to do so; I am so grateful for these guys.”
Caden Hodina delivered a legendary effort for San Marcos on the mound on his way to a complete game shutout. His poise and composure throughout the game were invaluable as San Marcos struggled to put runs on the board early.
“It’s amazing, I told the team before this game that my dream when I was a freshman here playing summer ball, I knew that I wanted to win a CIF championship ring,” said Hodina, who notched six strikeouts. “We’re one step closer to that dream. I’m so excited and so proud of this team.”
For a while it seemed as though San Marcos might let a golden opportunity to advance slip away. The Royals put runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the third inning and failed to come away with a run.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, San Marcos loaded the bases with one out and came away empty again after back-to-back flyouts.
“That’s the game. Sometimes you cash them in, sometimes you don’t, but you got seven innings,” said San Marcos head coach Wes Ghan Gibson. “It wasn’t happening, but our defense and our pitching kept us in the game.”
Brad Cekada led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single up the middle, which set the stage for Estabrooks’s heroics with one out.
Clinging to a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Steven Bradley made a diving catch on a ball that was hit into the right-center field gap by Westlakes Dillon Marrisett. The Royals flashed impressive leather again in the top of the seventh when Patrick Kelley made a spinning put out from third base for the first out of the inning.
“I got a couple rollovers, some weak contact and a great play by Patrick, my third baseman,” said Hodina of finishing out the game. “That right there kind of secured the deal for us.”
San Marcos will take on Aliso Niguel in the CIF-SS Division 3 Championship game at Blair Field in Long Beach. The game will be either on Friday or Saturday and the time has yet to be determined.
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