Note: Due to space limitations, my full story on Piedmont winning the NCS 2-A East Bay title did not run unfortunately. There were a few graphs cut off at the end talking about the great job done by Piedmont’s Bryce Chu to close out the victory. Here’s the full version.
By Jimmy Durkin
OAKLAND — Piedmont High shortstop Trevor McCalmont discarded his hat, called off his teammates and caught a soaring popup hit by Northgate’s Kevin Krueger.
Before he knew it, his teammates had formed a dogpile in the middle of the infield Saturday at McAfee Coliseum to celebrate the final out in Piedmont’s 6-5 win over Northgate in the North Coast Section 2-A East Bay championship baseball game — clinching the first NCS crown in school history for the seventh-seeded Highlanders.
“We’ve been thinking about this since Day 1,” senior pitcher/first baseman Jordan Remer said. “It’s just a dream come true.”
Before the season started, Piedmont coach John Nelson had expectations of winning an NCS crown. Several players listed winning the title as their season goal when Nelson made them fill out a goal sheet before the year.
‘I brought the sheets out today and said, ‘Here it is. You’re here. Let’s seize the moment’,” Nelson said. “It’s great for the school, it’s great for the city of Piedmont.”
After building a 4-0 lead on top-seeded Northgate (24-3), the Highlanders (20-7-1) nearly saw the title fall through their grasp.
Four errors, three walks, a passed ball and two wild pitches allowed the Broncos — who had just one hit on the day — to score five unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Remer, Piedmont’s USF-bound ace, was knocked out of the game after throwing 99 pitches. He was charged with four of the runs, with reliever Jeremy George allowing two inherited runners to score plus the go-ahead run.
George wouldn’t have to wait long for redemption though.
The Highlanders’ Lawrence Davis hit a one-out double in the top of the sixth, McCalmont followed with a walk and a fielders’ choice forced Davis out at home as Steven Deutsch reached first. George then unloaded on a 0-2 pitch and crushed a double over the left fielder’s head to plate both runs.
“I figured this was the time for redemption,” George said. “I went up there just trying to swing. I didn’t even see where it landed.”
With the lead regained, UC-Davis bound pitcher Bryce Chu — who earned the win in Wednesday’s semifinal victory against Campolindo — retired the final six batters to get the save.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous,” Chu said. “I’m just glad to be the guy out there to get the last out.”