With the top four spots in the Academic Athletic Association baseball race finalized earlier this week, there was still the matter of senior day to attend to for the upstart Mission Bears.
Behind yet another solid outing from senior team captain and right-handed starter Will Cohen, Mission cruised to a 5-1 win over Balboa on Thursday at Nealon Diamond at Big Rec, and will now await the winner of the AAA semifinal next Tuesday.
The game against the Buccaneers was rescheduled from April 4 after early-season rains, giving the Bears one more tune-up on the Big Rec field before the league semifinals.
Cohen went 5 1/3 innings and allowed just three hits, while his offense went to work.
Senior Asantay Wilson got things going for Mission in the third on a walk, stolen base and a botched pick off attempt. Senior Ahkeem Lewis plated Wilson with a single to right, and then scored on a Declan Mercos-Weiss single. In the fourth, Mika Mateo advanced to second on a throwing error, and came around on a Wilson then followed with a sharp single to left. Mateo was not finished, leading off sixth with a triple to left, and then scoring on a passed ball.
Cohen helped his own cause out with an a double in the second and RBI single in the fifth, driving home Lewis. Mercos-Weiss relieved Cohen in the sixth, and Wilson closed out the game by striking out the side. Cohen improved to 4-1, but despite only allowing one run, his ERA ticked up to a still-dominant 1.11.
Mission now awaits the winner of Academy and Washington, which play in the first quarterfinal next Tuesday. The winner of that game faces Mission at Nealon next Thursday, with the winner advancing to the championship at Oracle Park on May 15.
Lowell, the defending six-time champions who Mission beat for the first time in years last week, awaits the Tuesday winner of Wallenberg versus Lincoln. That semifinal will be played on Thursday at adjacent Graham Diamond.