Buhach Colony's Jake Sapien throw his final pitch of Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III elimination playoff game at Klein Family Field on the campus of UOP in Stockton. Josh Gerber singled in a run to give Oakdale a 2-1 lead and Sapien was then relieved. Buhach Colony went on to win the game 6-4, and Spaien drove in the deciding run. (Joe Cortez/Front Row Preps)

Buhach Colony eliminates Oakdale, earns right to play for D-III championshikp

Joe Cortez

STOCKTON — Buhach Colony staved off postseason elimination by defeating Oakdale for the second time in four days, this time, needing a late-inning rally to get the job done, 6-4, on Thursday night at Klein Family Field on the campus of the University of the Pacific.

The Thunder advance Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game at Klein Family Field, where Ponderosa awaits. Buhach Colony must win twice on Monday, while Ponderosa needs only to win once to clinch the ban

On Monday the Thunder beat the Mustangs 15-6, but they fell behind 4-1 early in Thursday’s elimination game.  

Jake Sapien, the game’s starting pitcher who was the losing pitcher in Buhach Colony’s 7-4 loss to Ponderosa on Wednesday, a loss that sent the Thunder into the loser’s bracket, found of bit of redemption by driving in the go-ahead run with an RBI single that gave BC a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning.   

For a while, it looked as though Sapien might suffer consecutive losses, giving up an RBI single to Josh Gerber that put the Mustangs up 2-1, and leaving the game with nobody out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.

Antonio Cortez inherited the mess, and allowed two of Sapien’s runners to score, as the Thunder fell behind 4-1.

The lead proved to be short-lived, as Buhach Colony banged out six hits and scored five runs in the top of the fifth. Cortez was credited with the victory.

In other Sac-Joaquin Section playoff games, Central Catholic also avoided elimination with a 12-0 win over Casa Roble that sent the Rams home for the season. The Raiders advance to take on Los Banos for the championship on Monday at 1 p.m. at Lodi’s Tony Zupo Field. 

The top-seeded Tigers (27-1) advanced to the final with a 4-3 walk-off victory over Central Catholic on Tuesday at Stagg High School in Stockton, and now Central Catholic must twice beat a team that hasn’t lost two games all season. Los Banos’ only loss this year came to Buhach Colony, 1-0.

In Division V, Argonaut lost 5-3 to Bear River, which will advance to take on Colfax for the championship.

In Division VI, it’s another all-local final with Southern League rivals Waterford and Mariposa set to meet Monday at 10 a.m. at Klein Family Field. An “if game” would follow at 1 p.m.