Making his first start of the season, Logan Stelling did what he’s done throughout his athletic career at Christopher High: he delivered. The recent graduate pitched 3 ⅓ innings of one-run ball and also had two RBIs in the Cougars’ 4-1 win over San Lorenzo Valley on Saturday in a Central Coast Section Division IV playoff quarterfinal.
The No. 2 seed Cougars (12-5) advance to a home semifinal game against No. 6 Leigh (14-9) on Wednesday at 4pm. CHS never trailed, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning before SLV scored its only run in the top of the fourth. The Cougars struck for three runs in the fifth, highlighted by Will Anderson’s two-run home run.
Anderson also pitched 2 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief of Stelling before giving way to Jose Padilla, who delivered a four-out save. Cougars coach Ryan Dequin said his players are battling and playing well, and the intensity of this game was off the charts.
“You’re talking about very stressful innings; it felt like we were in the bottom of the seventh from the first pitch on,” he said. “But the team is coming out and playing really well. We’re struggling in different areas and piecing things together but able to squeak by timely hitting and pitching.”
Stelling, who averaged just under 200 yards rushing per game this past football season, is usually the team’s closer but was thrust into the starting role, setting up Nathan Weiler to start Wednesday’s game against Leigh.
“We called on Logan today and he stepped up,” Dequin said. “He’s a hard-throwing right-hander and mixes up speeds well and goes after guys.”
Catcher Tyler Swan threw out two SLV runners attempting to steal and was “phenomenal behind the plate,” Dequin said. Aiden Simeon had two hits as CHS won despite losing third baseman Eli West in the top of the first after a freak incident with a SLV baserunner.
“It was a day of struggles, but we came together and battled,” Dequin said. “Everyone else did a great job and it was a solid team effort.”