Pleasant Hill, Sports Zone

Billies baseball advances to first state semi since ’19

PLEASANT HILL – After losing in the quarterfinals the past two years, the Pleasant Hill Billies were facing a familiar foe Friday – fifth-ranked Sisters – and ended up winning 4-1 and advancing to the state semifinals for the first time since 2019.

“That was a big hump to get off our backs,” Billies coach Johnny Bowden said. “We’ve been struggling in the quarterfinals; we’ve been on the road a lot in the quarterfinals. We kind of made a commitment that every game was important this year because we wanted to host home playoff games, and honestly I think it paid off.”

With a scoreless game in the bottom of the third inning, Chase Vargas hit a double to left field. Courtesy runner Cody Rusche took his place on second base and stole home on a bunt from DJ Holman – putting Pleasant Hill up 1-0. Sisters answered quickly with a run to tie it up in the top of the fourth – stealing home after a Billies error. 

That was the final run for Sisters, but not the final run of the game. With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Pleasant Hill pitcher Hunter Allen grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Eli Larson and Rusche to score. Shortly after, Allen scored himself from a single by Kaden Fisher to put the Billies up 4-1. 

“It’s a huge win, you know. Regardless of who you play, every playoff victory is tough,” Bowden said. “Sisters is a really good team, they’re a very, very quality ball club, and it was a battle all the way through.”

Pleasant Hill’s quarterfinal victory came after a comeback win in the round of 16 as the 4th-ranked Billies beat No. 13 Taft 9-5. Trailing 5-3, Pleasant Hill scored 6 runs in the fourth and fifth innings to win. Caden Richardson had 12 Ks on the mound and Holman finished with 1 hit, 2 runs, and 2 RBI.

With the two wins, Pleasant Hill advances to play No. 9 Brookings-Harbor on Tuesday, May 28 for the opportunity to compete in the state championship – in what would be Pleasant Hill’s first title appearance since 2013.

Brookings-Harbor is an opponent Bowden knows well as it’s the team Pleasant Hill lost to in last year’s quarterfinals. The Billies got revenge early this season with a 7-3 at Pleasant Hill in mid-March.



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