Zach Lander doubled and had two RBIs as the host Amador Valley High baseball team topped rival Foothill 2-1 on Friday to earn a share of the East Bay Athletic League title with San Ramon Valley and De La Salle.
Tyler Staniford went 5ï»¿1/3 strong innings to get the win and fellow senior Alex Zwingle got the save for the Dons (16-8, 9-5 EBAL), who won three of their last four league games.
Amador Valley, which concluded last season with a dog pile after winning the North Coast Section Division I title, had another dog pile on Friday.
"We're EBAL champs and it feels good. It's special," said Lander, a senior. "To come out here with a group of guys that I love so much, it's awesome to be able to win something this big with them."
Dons coach Lou Cesario said his seniors came through again.
"Great leadership from our guys," Cesario said. "All year the seniors have all stepped up and done a great job. I'm proud of them because winning EBAL is tough, even if you share it."
Amador Valley led 1-0 in the second inning on Lander's sacrifice fly to right, bringing in Steven Nice, who was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Lander also sliced an RBI double to right in the fourth.
After Foothill (13-11, 5-9) loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, Zwingle was brought in to face Ryan Anderson, whose sacrifice fly cut the deficit to 2-1. Zwingle hit the next batter, Nick Hermes, to re-load the bases before retiring Vincent Tanisawa on a pop fly to catcher Jacob Kinney. Zwingle set the Falcons down in order in the seventh.
Amador Valley turned smooth 6-4-3 double plays in the second and third innings. The plays went from shortstop Austin Piscotty to second baseman Connor Casperson to Nice at first.
Foothill's No. 9 hitter Ruben Mercado was 2 for 2 with a run scored, and Falcons starter Jake Wilgus allowed only four hits over five innings.
Cesario's team caught a break on Wednesday when De La Salle and San Ramon Valley both lost, to go with the Dons' win over California, setting the stage for a tri-league championship.
"We battled for a couple of weeks being behind everybody," Cesario said, "and we got some breaks Wednesday and we took advantage of them today."
San Ramon Valley 2, Monte Vista 0: Pitchers Conner Loar and Conor Neumann combined to shut out the Mustangs as the Wolves clinched a share of the EBAL title and the league's automatic berth to the NCS playoffs. Ryan Weisenberg hit a solo home run in the third inning for San Ramon Valley (17-7, 9-5 EBAL), which swept both Amador Valley and De La Salle this season to win the league's tie-breaker for the automatic berth. Trevor John threw 3ï»¿1/3 shutout innings for Monte Vista (12-12, 5-9).
EBAL Amador Valley 2, Foothill 1
Foothill 000 001 0-- 1 5 2
Amador Valley 010 100 x-- 2 4 1
Wilgus, Danckert (6) and Gandy; Staniford, Zwingle (6) and Kinney. W: Stanford. L: Wilgus. S: Zwingle. 2B: Lander (AV), Sheehan (AV). Highlights: F -- Anderson RBI; Mercado 2 for 2, R; Wilgus 5 IP, 5 H. AV -- Lander 1 for 1, 2 RBI; Nice 2 for 3, 2 R; Stanford 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 K, 0 BB.
San Ramon Valley 2, Monte Vista 0
San Ramon 011 000 0-- 2 3 1
Monte Vista 000 000 0-- 0 4 1
Loar, Neumann (6) and Kanat; Carter, John (4) and Halstead. W: Loar. L: Carter. S: Neumann. HR: Weisenberg (SRV) 3rd inn., solo. Records: San Ramon Valley 17-7, 9-5 EBAL; Monte Vista 12-12, 5-9. Highlights: SRV -- Loar 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 K; Neumann 2 IP, 4 K. MV -- Ricupito 1 for 2, BB; John 3 1/3 IP, 2 H.