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W.R. baseball spoils it for Golden Valley

Posted: April 25, 2014 10:40 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2014 10:40 p.m.

West Ranch's Jagger Rusconi, left, pushes Golden Valley's James Mendoza as Rusconi heads for home at West Ranch High on Friday.

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It doesn’t happen very often in Foothill League play, but you can bet that when A.J. West and Jake Bird come in to pitch for West Ranch in the same game, it’s a close one.

Coming into Friday’s matchup with Golden Valley the two had only pitched in the same game twice — a win over Saugus on March 28 and a loss to Valencia on April 18.

It was the winless-in-league Grizzlies who forced West Ranch to throw them both again on Friday as the Wildcats fought out a 4-3 win at West Ranch High.

“I thought Golden Valley played a great game. They certainly played well enough to win that game today,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “We snuck a few extra things in at the end to come out on top but I thought Golden Valley outhit us all day.”

West struggled in the start, allowing two runs, one earned, over two innings without a strikeout.

Golden Valley (4-17 overall, 0-9 Foothill League), after falling behind 1-0 in the first, scored two in the second to take a 2-1 lead thanks to a double by Cody Rightmyer that scored Lukas Granado and Cole Bygum.

Neither team would take more than a one-run lead all day.

With the score knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, West Ranch (13-7, 6-3) was finally able to take the lead for good when Jagger Rusconi got the best of Grizzlies pitcher Jaiden France in a 10-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded for a sacrifice fly to left that scored Addison Jackson.

“I was just thinking the whole time to try and get something in the air, something I could elevate and put a run on the board,” said Rusconi. “(France) was tough. He was throwing two-seams that were going away from me and I just got the bat on the ball and it worked out.”

From there the Wildcats turned the ball over to Bird to close the game out.

Golden Valley battled, moving the tying run to third before Bird could strike out Bygum to end the game.

“It was a great game,” said Grizzlies head coach Gino Pomilia. “I think it was one of, if not the, best games of the year for the team. They came to play. We forced (West Ranch) to come up with their ace at the end, so they weren’t taking us lightly either. We played well.”

Both teams will play home games next Tuesday. Golden Valley will host Canyon and West Ranch will welcome Hart to its diamond for the first time this season.

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