Three former Tracy High teammates were reunited at the California Community College Athletic Association baseball championship tournament, Saturday through Tuesday at Fresno City College.
Thomas Greely and Noah Denoyer both play for the San Joaquin Delta College Mustangs (39-9, 19-5 Big 8), the champions of the Big 8 conference, and Kevin Saenz plays for the Sacramento City College Panthers (35-15, 16-8 Big 8). All three were seniors on the 2016 Tracy High baseball team, which won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 South title.
Both the Mustangs and the Panthers were among the final four in the CCCAA championship tournament, which also included El Camino College of Torrance and Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa.
The highlight for Saenz came in Saturday’s elimination game, when the Panthers beat the Mustangs 7-6 on a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 16th inning after more than 5 hours of play.
Saenz went 2 for 5 in that game. He singled in the bottom of the first inning, stole second, advanced on a base hit and came home on an error, scoring the Panthers’ first run.
Going into the seventh inning, the Delta College Mustangs had taken a 6-4 lead. Saenz came up to bat with two outs and a runner on first, and he hit a two-run homer to tie it up 6-6. Neither team scored in the eighth and ninth innings, and they went six more innings with no one scoring.
Denoyer, pitching relief for the Mustangs in extra innings, ended up getting his only loss of the season after he allowed four hits over four innings and one run. He left the game in the bottom of the 16th with the bases loaded and no outs. The next pitcher struck out one batter and gave up the RBI single that gave the Panthers the 7-6 win.
That eliminated the Mustangs from the tournament, while the Panthers played one more game against Orange Coast on Monday. Orange Coast was ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning when Saenz hit a solo home run down the left field line, his 10th homer of the season. He is the Panthers’ team leader in home runs for 2019, and No. 2 for RBIs (42). That turned out to be his only hit of the day.
Orange Coast went on to win the state championship. El Camino had beaten Orange Coast 8-2 on Monday, but Orange Coast came back with two wins over El Camino on Tuesday, 9-7 and 8-7.
All three Tracy players contributed to their teams’ games on Saturday, with Greely bunting in a run in the third inning of Delta’s 5-3 loss to El Camino and Denoyer pitching 1 1/3 innings of relief. Saenz had a base hit in the Panthers’ 6-1 loss to Orange Coast on Saturday.
Saenz played 49 of 50 games as the Panthers’ starting catcher and finished his season with a .295 batting average. Now he is headed to San Jose State University, where he will play for the NCAA Division 1 Spartans and study exercise science.
Greely finished the season with a .294 batting average and will continue playing at California State University, Long Beach, also an NCAA Division 1 program. He plans to study communications.
Denoyer, who had a 4-1 record in his sophomore season at Delta College, will play for NCAA Division 1 Oklahoma State University and study business.
As seniors at Tracy High, all three played for a Bulldog team that went 26-9 overall and 10-5 in the Tri-City Athletic League, with Denoyer a pitcher and first baseman, Saenz the catcher, and Greely a middle infielder and pitcher. In their league season, they went 1-2 against league champion St. Mary’s, and in the playoff,s they beat St. Mary’s twice to win the Division 1 South title. From there, the Bulldogs went 1-2 in a best-of-three series against Elk Grove to finish as the overall Division 1 runner-up.