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Golden Valley finishes season with a series sweep

The Grizzlies close out their most successful varsity baseball season, but there is still much wor

Posted: May 15, 2009 9:40 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
After a winless Foothill League performance in 2008, first year Golden Valley coach Scott Drootin knew he was in for a building project with his new team, and Friday he finished laying one of the first levels in the construction of a successful program.

The Grizzlies closed out a series sweep of Canyon with a 7-3 win at home, picking up its fourth league win of the season.

“We knew we had a lot of work to do to help this team get on the right track, and I think the last two-and-a-half games have shown that we are getting to where we want to be,” Drootin said. “I can’t say enough about our seniors and how they performed.”

One of the Grizzly seniors that stepped up was starting pitcher Nick Rhoades. The left-hander threw five innings, allowing only one earned run and three hits.

“My arm has been hurting a bit lately,” Rhoades said. “I was working on pitching with my whole body so there would be as little strain on my arm as possible, but I knew this was my last game so there was no way I wasn’t going to leave everything on the field today.”

The Grizzlies (9-15, 4-11) struck first when Kamran Young knocked home Brandon Kaufman with a two-out, RBI-single in the first inning.

Canyon fired back with a pair in the second. Icezack Flemming delivered the big hit with a two-run single to give the Cowboys (2-24, 0-15) the lead.

“It was a back-and-forth game from the start,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer. “I thought we pitched well, but they swung the bats a little better.”

Golden Valley evened the game at two in the third when the Grizzlies capitalized on a Jordan Yallen lead-off walk and pushed him around the bases.

Canyon answered with its third run to regain the lead in the top of the fourth, but Golden Valley again evened the score in the bottom half of the frame, capitalizing on a pair of errors to make the game 3-3.

“We really found a way to get our players and coaches focused,” Drootin said. “We have had some tremendous practices, and we have been showing the results of the effort we have been putting in. Today we played a smart game, and really executed on the defensive end. When we play like we played in the field then our pitchers know they can pitch to contact.”

The Grizzlies sent eight men to the plate in the fifth, scoring two on a pair of bases loaded walks from reliever Robert Wright.
Golden Valley also pushed two runs across in the sixth to give Grizzly reliever Scott Barlow an added cushion that helped him close out the four-run win.

“We were right there for about five-and-a-half innings,” Schulhofer said. “Our guys kept fighting, and their guys did too. It was a great game to watch, even though we weren’t on the right side of the outcome.”

Neither team will be headed to the postseason, but both are already thinking of next year.

“We played a lot of sophomores and juniors this year,” Drootin said. “I remember when I was thinking about taking this job, I asked, ‘Who is running practices?’ since they didn’t have a coach. When I heard that the seniors were in charge, I knew this was a team that had a lot of potential, and as much as we will all miss the seniors, their impact will be seen next year.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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