DJ Mico has been a very typical role player for the Elk Grove Thundering Herd. He usually bats eighth or ninth in the lineup, is generally the first guy out of the dugout at the beginning of each inning to take his place in left field, the position he plays the most.
With a very talented group of baseball players new to the varsity squad this year, Mico, a senior, has seen the bench more than he probably likes, but he hasn’t complained.
“I’m not worrying about that this year,” he said. “I’m doing what I can to help the team win a championship right now.”
But, thus far in the playoffs, Herd head coach Jeff Carlson has started Mico in left and he’s delivered. Mico’s two-RBI triple in the fourth inning Saturday gave Elk Grove a 5-4 lead as the Herd came from behind to defeat crosstown rival Franklin, 9-6, in a game played at Sacramento City College.
“I got the opportunity to go out here and swing the bat,” Mico said. “It was a great experience.”
The win put Elk Grove into Tuesday’s semi-finals of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I North playoffs. All games are played at Union Stadium on the SCC campus.
Mico also drove in another run with a sacrifice flyball in the fifth inning giving Elk Grove some much needed hit support from the bottom part of the lineup.
Meanwhile the top of the Herd lineup continued its fierce hitting as Rowdy Tellez pounded his second home run in as many post-season games to lead off the fifth inning. Plus, he drove in an insurance run in the sixth inning on a single.
Dom Nunez had an RBI triple in the first inning. Mikey Wright also drove in a pair of runs.
For the third straight playoff game, Dave Smith came out of the bullpen. He picked up the win Saturday by retiring the first ten batters he faced after relieving starter Ty Madrigal with one out in the third inning.
At the time Elk Grove trailed, 4-3, and Franklin was threatening to add more.
Franklin had scored three runs in the first inning and added a fourth run in the second inning, but pitchers Trent Spallas and Cameron Keup couldn’t stop the Elk Grove bats.
The loss meant Franklin has to face the loser of Pleasant Grove and Davis, the late Saturday game at City College, on Monday night in the losers’ bracket.