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SAN JOSE -- The showdown everyone was waiting for between the area's consensus top two high school baseball teams took place Saturday night with St. Francis beating Serra 4-0 at San Jose Municipal Stadium.But that matchup worthy of a section championship...

CCS baseball: St. Francis holds off Serra, advances to Open semifinals

SAN JOSE -- The showdown everyone was waiting for between the area's consensus top two high school baseball teams took place Saturday night with St. Francis beating Serra 4-0 at San Jose Municipal Stadium.But that matchup worthy of a section championship...

CCS baseball: St. Francis holds off Serra, advances to Open semifinals

SAN JOSE -- The showdown everyone was waiting for between the area's consensus top two high school baseball teams took place Saturday night with St. Francis beating Serra 4-0 at San Jose Municipal Stadium.

But that matchup worthy of a section championship game took place in the Central Coast Section Open Division quarterfinals -- a weird circumstance due to the point system used in seeding the teams.

So, even though all involved knew the importance of the matchup -- don't make too much of it.

"If we don't continue striving next game then this doesn't mean anything,'' St. Francis coach Mike Oakland said.

St. Francis advances to play Carlmont in the semifinals Wednesday at 4 p.m. at San Jose Muni.

Jeremy Ydens was a hitting and pitching star for the Lancers. He threw 61/3 innings of shutout ball and hit a key two-run single in the top of the seventh that gave his team breathing room.

Quite a different outcome than the first time Ydens pitched against Serra. He dropped a 6-0 decision to Serra his junior year as Chris Apecechea tossed a three-hitter for the Padres. And it was Apecechea who was matched up against Ydens again on Saturday.

"Definitely,'' Ydens said when asked if the memory of that game provided motivation. "I wanted to bounce back and get the win.''

He did so by doing his best pitching with runners on base. He stranded the bases loaded in the fourth and left two on in the sixth.

"I was able to spot my pitches and use my two-seamer a lot,'' Ydens said. "I had to stay composed and focused.''

He gave Serra sluggers Hunter Bishop and Angelo Bortolin a steady diet of breaking pitches.

You have to be careful with them,'' he said. "You can't leave the ball over the plate.''

Serra loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and the middle of the order coming up. St. Francis coach Mike Oakland brought in left-hander Brandon Oliver to face the left-handed batting Bishop and Bortolin. Oliver struck out Bishop on a 3-2 pitch and then fanned Bortolin on three pitches to end the game.

"I was just trying to throw strikes and hopefully get a double play,'' Oliver said. "They are really good hitters. My curve ball felt good.''

St. Francis (24-8) got a run in the second on Cole Sperling's sacrifice fly. Bishop hit a one-out triple for Serra in the fourth. Bortolin and Ryan Sambel walked to load the bases and then Thomas McCarthy was hit by a pitch to force in the tying run. But the home plate umpire called McCarthy back from first base for apparently turning into the pitch.

Ydens pitched out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out.

RJ Tiejeira's two-out triple in the sixth inning that was just out of Bishop's reach in right field scored the second run of the game for St. Francis and chased Apecechea.

In the bottom of the sixth Nick Knecht singled with two on and two out but pinch runner Patrick Caulfield was thrown out at the plate on a great throw by left fielder Alexii Sigona.

"He threw a laser,'' Ydens said. "That was amazing.''

"I was telling him not to throw it,''' Oakland said. "I wanted to keep the tying run at second.''

Emilio Nogales' third single of the game started the seventh-inning rally. A pair of walks loaded the bases. Ydens hit a bouncer down the third-base line that scored two runs and put the Lancers up 4-0.

Serra (25-6-1) saw its season come to an end.

"This game doesn't take anything away from what the 2016 WCAL champions did,'' Serra coach Craig Gianinno said. "What you saw tonight was two great teams with a ton of respect for one another. I felt confident all the way to the last pitch. I just wish we could play more baseball.''

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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