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Late boost lifts ’Cats past Grizz

Grizzlies keep pace early, but Thompson’s seven RBIs key win

Posted: April 24, 2009 9:50 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch catcher Max Blaha tags out Grizzly Alex Dagg at home plate Friday at Golden Valley. The Wildcats beat the Grizzlies 14-3.

 
After being outscored by a combined 35 runs in the first two games of the series, the Golden Valley High baseball team finally managed to put up a fight against West Ranch.

For the first half of Friday’s game, at least.

The Grizzlies led after three innings and were tied through four but then the Wildcats did what they’ve done all year -- score runs in bunches, winning 14-3 Friday at Golden Valley High.

The win was West Ranch’s eighth in a row. It kept the Wildcats, who were 6-9 in Foothill League play a season ago, in first place in league at 8-1 with six games remaining.

West Ranch’s catalyst Friday was a familiar villain for the Grizzlies.

Mitchell Thompson, who lit up the Grizzlies the last time he played at Golden Valley High with three home runs and nine RBIs, settled for seven runs driven in this time.

Thompson delivered a momentum-changing, tie-breaking, base-clearing double in the fifth inning and then a grand slam in the seventh inning, both on two-strike pitches.

“I just tried my best to make contact,” Thompson said. “I don’t know what it is about playing here, but when I hit the ball here, I seem to hit the ball really, really hard.”

Thompson had also hit a grand slam in his three-home run game on April 3.

“I guess he kind of likes playing here,” quipped West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill “He seems to do pretty well.”

The Wildcats (16-3, 8-1) were fortunate that they brought the senior along.

Before Thompson broke the game open, the Grizzlies (7-11, 2-7) were very much alive.

Through the first three innings Golden Valley starting pitcher Scott Barlow held the West Ranch lineup scoreless.

“Their first arm did a really great job,” Burrill said. “He did a great job with his off-speed pitches keeping us off-balance and to be honest, we didn’t have very good approaches.”

Golden Valley led 1-0 after a Nicholas Rhoades RBI single in the third inning.

The adversity, though, only seemed to awaken West Ranch’s lineup. The Wildcats responded with three runs in the top of the fourth.

Casey Watkins pounded an RBI-double to start the scoring and two batters later, with another double, Jared Ortiz plated two more, giving the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage.

Golden Valley didn’t go away, though.

Kamran Young tied it with a two-run double of his own in the bottom half of the frame.

But Thompson ended the back-and-forth with his back-breaking double in the fifth.

The Wildcats never looked back after his bases-clearing hit. They added three more in the sixth, scoring twice on wild pitches and again on an Ortiz RBI-single. Then they tacked on five in the seventh, on another run-scoring single by Watkins and Thompson’s grand slam.

“Mitchell definitely shifted the momentum in our favor,” Burrill said.

Golden Valley loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings, but didn’t score again.

West Ranch outscored the Grizzlies 53-7 in a three-game season sweep.

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