Bellotti with umpire

Elk Grove baseball coach Joe Bellotti, left, argues with the base umpire who called a check swing a strike three to end a Herd rally in the sixth inning Tuesday. Elk Grove lost to 13-seed River City, 6-2, in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

For the second year in a row, Elk Grove’s baseball team went one-and-done in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Behind the effective pitching of sophomore Nicky Rodriguez and a solid River City defense, the No.13-seeded Raiders surprised No. 4 Thundering Herd, 6-2, on Tuesday.

In 2022, the Herd, a No. 3 seed, was upset by No. 14-seed Central Valley, 3-2.

The Raiders got to Elk Grove starter Russ Pettis in the top of the first with three runs and didn’t look back. Pettis was rocked with nine hits in his five innings pitched. Meanwhile River City clean-up hitter Tyson Mayberry was three-for-four while Rodriguez helped his own cause with a two-run single.

Rodriguez gave up only two hits through the first six innings. When he got wild in the seventh inning and loaded the bases, J.J. Torrente was brought on in relief to shut the door with the final two outs.

Herd head coach Joe Bellotti took the blame for this upset loss.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose in the first round for the second year in a row,” he said. “I am going to take the blame on this one. I don’t think our guys were ready. We’ve played well this year, but we didn’t get it done at this time of the year.”

Elk Grove ended the season with a 18-11 record. River City now moves on to face Lincoln of Stockton Thursday. Lincoln defeated McClatchy, a Section finalist a year ago, 8-4, on Tuesday.

Franklin 17, Stagg 0

Nic Abraham,Connor Blackburn and Tyler Cody pitched a no-hitter for the No. 1 seed Wildcats. Top hitters were Nolan Stevens (3x3 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Dom Giusti (HR, 4 RBI), Jordy Lopez (2x3 2B) and Zach McCargar (2B, 3 RBI). Franklin will host No. 8 Oak Ridge Thursday. The Trojans defeated No. 9 Turlock Tuesday, 4-0.

St. Mary’s 11, Laguna Creek 1

The No. 3-seeded Rams won easily Tuesday. They now move on to a second-round matchup with No. 11 Folsom, who defeated No. 6 Vacaville, 6-4. The Cardinals end the season with a 14-10 record.

Other Div. I Scores: No. 10 Rocklin 5, No. 7 Davis 2; No. 2 Whitney 5, No. 15 Armijo 0


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Sports Editor

John Hull has been with the Citizen sports department since 2007. His background is in radio and television then spent 15 years as a media production teacher at Cosumnes River College and Luther Burbank High School, retiring in 2019.