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Righetti's Tanner Sampson (2) is welcomed home by Matthew Sauer and Jaden LyBurtus (12) after scoring against Peninsula in a CIF-SS Division 3 playoff game on May 26 in Orcutt. Righetti won 7-4 and their run to the sectional title game is the No. 7 story of 2017.

Len Wood, Staff

By this time in past calendar years, Righetti's current baseball players had been done playing baseball for the season.

This year, they will make a trek to the high desert for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals.

Righetti will take on Lancaster Paraclete at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at Paraclete. Veteran Righetti coach Brian Tomooka has guided six straight teams to the playoffs, but this is the farthest any of them have gone.

Like this year's team, the Warriors won three playoff games last year. However, as the fourth league seed, they had to start the playoffs with a wild card game. They went out in the quarterfinals with a 3-1 home loss to Irvine Beckman.

This year, Righetti (27-6 overall) shared the PAC 8 League championship with Paso Robles, and the Warriors started their postseason with a first-round win.

Righetti senior right-hander Matt Sauer sports a 1.03 ERA and, "The plan is to start him," against Paraclete, Tomooka said by phone Saturday.

Sauer will be well-rested. He hasn't pitched since going the first three innings in Righetti's 3-2 second-round win at Covina Charter Oak May 23.

Like the Warriors, none of Paraclete's current players has been on a squad that has won more than three playoff games, though the Spirits have made it to the playoffs each of the last three years.

"I don't know much about (Paraclete)," said Tomooka. "When you get to the playoffs it's hard, because you might not have seen the teams very often." The Warriors and the Spirits have not played each other this year.

No stats on the Spirits were available on Maxpreps.com, but a few things about the Spirits are evident.

They have excelled in one-run games in these playoffs. Paraclete edged Arcadia 2-1, Anaheim Canyon 5-4 and Chino Don Lugo 4-3, in the Spirits' first road game of the playoffs.

Paraclete scored four times in the top of the first then held off Don Lugo, which, going in, had a higher Maxpreps ranking.

The Warriors have won eight straight, but the Spirits have been even hotter. They've won their last 10.

Paraclete (19-6-1) won the Gold Coast League Championship.

Half of Righetti's 22 players are seniors. Paraclete has seven seniors on its 16-man roster.

Paso Robles shared the PAC 8 League championship with Righetti, and the Bearcats are still around in the playoffs after beating top seed Quartz Hill 4-1 Friday at Paso Robles in a Division 3 quarterfinal.

The Bearcats will play at Walnut at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the other Division 3 semi.

Righetti has ridden strong pitching from Sauer (7-1), Mitchell Bagby (7-2) and Alex Castellanos (10-0) during the regular season and the playoffs.

Sauer-Bagby-Castellanos was the pitching rotation order for the Warriors during the PAC 8 campaign, which consisted of three-game series against each team.

Tomooka has mixed it up during the playoffs, starting Sauer in two consecutive games before starting Bagby in Righetti's 7-4 win at home over Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula Friday in the quarterfinals. Castellanos pitched hitless and scoreless relief over the last 2 1/3 innings.

Righetti has also enjoyed good hitting balance up and down the lineup. Friday, Tanner Sampson hit a pair of two-run singles, and Weston Hammell and Joseph Boiven both singled in a run.

"We have 22 guys on the roster, and all 22 have contributed," said Tomooka.

"They've all had a part in this."


Sports Reporter