WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – The Rodriguez Mustangs are having a season to remember, and so is Miguel Ramos. On Saturday at Las Lomas, Ramos went deep twice and had five RBIs as the Mustangs defeated the Knights, 9-4 to stay unbeaten.
Ramos hit a two-run shot in the third and a three-run dinger in the seventh to punctuate the win, and Grant Kerr survived a rough third inning to go six innings and pick up the win.
“The ball was coming pretty flat right down the middle, so once I (saw) the ball right there. I just threw my bat in the zone, and I made the contact,” Ramos said. “The boys are playing great. Everyone’s hitting, defense is great, pitching has been phenomenal. It’s just one of those years.”
Rodriguez (18-0) made a splash in the top of the second off Las Lomas starter Dimond Loosli for the game’s first runs. Ramos singled and advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt. After Kaden Wilde was intentionally walked, Kyle Sandner drew a walk to load the bases.
Christopher Lang ripped a grounder to short which was mishandled and ended up in left field, then dropped. When the dust settled, two runs had scored and two more were in scoring position. Rodriguez then manufactured two more runs with an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly.
Ramos’s third inning homer occurred with one out two batters after Landon Troutt led the inning off with a single.
“He’s been incredible,” first-year Rodriguez coach James Maldonado. “It seems he hits the ball hard every time.”
Mustangs starter Kerr had already escaped trouble in the first, when two runners were stranded, but in the third Las Lomas provided more firepower. With a runner at second and one down, Grayson Devine had the first of five consecutive Knights hits, the last of which plated the fourth run of the inning. But Kerr struck out Wyatt Glass and Aiden Foster to keep Rodriguez in front.
The next three innings saw both pitchers settle down, allowing just three hits between them with the help of a fine defensive play for each side.
“We’ve battled through those moments of adversity,” Maldonado remarked about his pitching staff. “(Kerr’s) a senior, and I was kind of going to ride him out. He kept battling.”
Caleb Garrison came into pitch for the Knights in the seventh. He allowed a lead-off single by Jack Metcho, and although Metcho was promptly caught stealing, Troutt and Trentin Schmidt both walked. Ramos then smacked the first pitch to over the fence in center. The extra cushion proved valuable as Las Lomas put a couple of baserunners on against Metcho, who came into pitch the final frame.
Ramos, a senior who is in his first season for the Mustangs, went 3-for-4 with three runs and five RBIs. For the season he has five homers, is hitting over .400, and besides that has shone on the mound (5-0, 1.70 ERA in six appearances). Jonah Bronstone paced Las Lomas with a 3-for-4 afternoon with a run and an RBI, and Joey Rusca went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Kerr and Loosli each struck out seven and walked three.
Rodriguez will aim to keep its undefeated season going on Tuesday against Vacaville. The Mustangs were 10-5 in 2021. In 2019, the last full season, they were 20-8 and earned the No. 3 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs before being quickly upset in the opening round. But this season they will have every chance to remedy that disappointment.
“I knew we were going to be good,” Maldonado said when asked about his thoughts at the beginning of this campaign. “I thought, ‘You know what, I think we’re good enough to beat every team on the schedule.’ Now in saying that obviously to think that we would have gone 18-0 is pretty ridiculous. We’re just gonna keep doing our thing.”