Sour ending to Solano season

Max Debiec was relatively harmless when the bases were empty or there was just one runner aboard against Solano Community College in the Northern California Regional playoffs. The Folsom Lake sophomore was dangerous, however, when he stepped to the plate with two teammates on base. Solano head coach Scott Stover learned in two games how lethal the 6-foot-7 Debiec can be in those situations.

Debiec made each of his three hits count as Folsom Lake knocked out Solano by winning 11-2 on Thursday and 9-2 on Friday. Two of Debiec’s hits came with two on base. Debiec belted a two-run double in the fifth inning Thursday to break a 2-2 tie and followed Friday with a two-run triple in the fifth to give Folsom Lake a 3-0 lead.

Folsom Lake’s Max Debiec validated his .467 batting average with a two-run double Thursday and a two-run triple Friday against Solano.

Three runs would have been enough to win either game. Solano was by no means the only team to run into trouble against Debiec, who ranks second in the state with a .467 batting average. He has 71 RBI and could very well be the state leader depending on what Rocco Borreli of Los Medanos (69 RBI) does in a best-of-three series against CaƱada.

Solano sophomore Conner Ross ranks third in batting average at .432 and is tied for seventh in RBI with 57. He was 2-for-4 on Friday and his leadoff homer in the sixth inning trimmed Folsom Lake’s lead to 3-2. The Napa High graduate will leave Solano after being honored as the Player of the Year in the Bay Valley Conference and will continue his college career at California Baptist.

Stover will enter the offseason with the task of replacing Ross, shortstop Kevin Parker, center fielder Miles Meadows and right fielder Joseph Guttmann from a team that finished second in the BVC at 16-5 and 26-15 overall. That would be his top four players in RBI and runs scored this season. Parker (.340), Guttmann (.333) and Meadows (.312) joined Ross among the team’s top six hitters. Two freshmen, left fielder Rolando Ramos (.350) and catcher JJ Dain (.346), followed Ross.

Parker relieved Mateo Santos in the seventh inning Friday after Tyler Allen led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Will C. Wood graduate Kobe Rolling. Vanden graduate Darryl Dilworth singled to drive in Allen and Parker then lost his control, walking the next two batters to load the bases. Parker struck out Nate Vargas and was one out away from escaping the seventh with no damage when he balked with Michael Ryan at the plate.

That allowed Dilworth to score and restore Folsom Lake’s three-run lead. Dilworth had an RBI double in the eighth and came home on a single by Debiec as Folsom Lake scored four runs to put the game away. Parker allowed five earned runs in 1.2 innings after yielding just nine in his other 16 relief appearances. Utah Valley will probably not need Parker to pitch when he joins the Wolverines in the fall.

Playoffs are more like reunion

Mateo Santos came within one out of a no-hitter in Solano’s 19-0 victory over Napa Valley last Thursday and earned his team-high seventh win this season.
Sophomore Connor Ross ranks third in the state with a .434 batting average.

SCC comes out swinging in win

Miles Meadows (above) was tagged out on a steal attempt Thursday afternoon, but little else went wrong for Solano Community College in a 13-3 victory over Marin. The Falcons evened the three-game series against the Mariners with the rubber match on Friday in Kentfield.

Solano is 13-4 in the Bay Valley Conference and trails Marin by one game for second place. Los Medanos sits atop the conference at 14-2 with both losses coming against Solano. The Falcons will finish the regular season next week with a three-game series against Napa Valley. Solano will be the home team Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and Friday at 1 p.m.

The Falcons scored five runs in the third inning and six in the fifth Thursday to make life much easier for Mateo Santos, who allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out eight in seven innings. The Bethel High product improved his record to 6-2 and moved into a tie with Peyton Czekalewski for the team lead in victories.

Solano designated hitter Connor Ross had three hits, including a two-run homer, The Napa High product ranks second in the BVC and fifth in the state with a .434 batting average. He also leads the Falcons in RBI with 47 and runs scored with 42.

Gregory Ryan

Remarkable return to baseball

Miles Meadows has no business starting in center field at Solano Community College. The 2022 Rodriguez High School graduate had not played baseball in seven years until he joined the Falcons. His teammates paid their dues for four years in high school for an opportunity to play at a junior college. Meadows has some nerve to think he belonged even though he had not swung a bat since he was 12 years old.

Meadows does belong, however. The freshman is batting .328 with three home runs, 22 RBI and a team-high 17 steals. There have been times when Meadows could not hide his inexperience. He has committed seven errors, four more than any other outfielder, and his baserunning needs a bit of work. Against Los Medanos on April 11, Meadows tagged at second base on a blooper that Mustangs second baseman Darrell Mays dropped just a few steps into the outfield. Even if Mays had caught the ball, there was no way Meadows could have made it to third.

At least Meadows made amends by stealing third and scoring on a single by Ryan Mitchell. That did not prevent third-base coach Brian Guinn from pulling Meadows aside to discuss the mistake and then jokingly call him a “freakin’ rookie.”

Miles Meadows

Head coach Scott Stover has been a bit more forgiving because he takes into consideration all that Meadows has done for the Falcons this season. The Falcons are 8-10 in the Bay Valley Conference and 14-21 overall with three games remaining. Stover would rather not think of how the Falcons would have fared without Meadows.

“We have guys who work hard and they can’t do what Miles does,” said Stover, who has to be counting his baseball blessings . “He’s a leader, he’s so positive and he’s our biggest cheerleader. It’s always been a team thing for him. He’s not selfish and he gets us going.”

There is much more to Meadows than his talent and spirit. Stover missed the April 11 game at Los Medanos when he was hospitalized with an illness. Only one player contacted Stover after the game to check on the coach’s condition. Do you want to guess who it was?

The call came from a young man who had his heart set on playing football as he did at Rodriguez until realizing he could not afford to commute to junior colleges in Sacramento and the Bay Area. And there were a number of junior colleges that were interested in Meadows’ services after he was the starting quarterback for two years at Rodriguez.

Stover is already looking forward to have Meadows return in 2024 and believes Meadows will have every opportunity to play baseball beyond Solano. “I’ve never talked to him about playing football,” Stover quipped, “because I don’t want to put it in his head.”

Meadows will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Playing at Solano has allowed his grandfather, Allan Brown, to attend games. Brown had a hand in raising his grandson, Meadows said, and continues to play a prominent role in Meadows’ life.

“I was not always the best kid. When I got in trouble, he always set me straight,” Meadows said. “I never want to disappoint him.” There is little chance of that ever happening because Meadows is driven to make the most of every opportunity to come his way.

His teammates would welcome Meadows even if he was not a starter and at the top of the Falcons’ batting order. They have come to count on the freshman to provide leadership and be the spark that ignites the team. “Some guys just have it,” said second baseman Victor Vega, who is the team captain. “The guys want to be around him.”

It took more than talent for Meadows to earn the respect of teammates who could have been envious of his emergence. They could have turn a deaf ear whenever Meadows stepped forward to address the team. They could have teased him after overhearing Meadows’ phone conversation with his girlfriend during which she called him “Pookie.”

To be honest, they do tease him. Meadows does not mind the ribbings because they are underlined with respect. “They see the work I put in. They respect the way I carry myself,” Meadows said. “When I say something, they know it’s coming from a good place.”

Meadows is in a good place. “I love these guys,” he said. “This is a perfect fit.”