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Foothill League baseball: Grizzlies even it out

Four-run fifth inning helps Golden Valley get to .500 in league

Posted: March 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley celebrates a 5-4 win over West Ranch after the game on Wednesday at Golden Valley High School. The Grizzlies have won their last two games by one run each.

 

In the past two games, Golden Valley baseball has committed itself to taking a more relaxed, free-swinging approach offensively.

The result has been two straight wins.

It was two swings in particular that guided the Grizzlies to a 5-4 victory over West Ranch on Wednesday at Golden Valley High School.

A pair of two-RBI hits in the Golden Valley half of the fifth inning broke up what had been a pitcher’s duel up to that point.
The Grizzlies (6-3, 2-2) led 5-1 by the end of the frame, and that ended up being just enough for the win, which followed Golden Valley’s 8-7 victory over Saugus on Saturday.

“They say hitting is contagious,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “Our guys just got up there and swung the bats. They didn’t bat defensively.”

In other words, hitters weren’t waiting around for the perfect pitch, but attacking the first good one they saw.
For Golden Valley shortstop Ryan Alvarez, it was a fastball high and tight from West Ranch starter Ryan Keller, which was laced the other way into right field with the bases loaded in the fifth.

The double scored two runs and the Wildcats (4-5, 1-2) trailed for the first time in the game, 3-1.

“I just wanted to hit the ball anywhere and get that run home,” said Alvarez, who went 2-for-3. “I just wanted to put it into play.”

Two batters later, first baseman Josh Smith ripped a triple down the right field line and scored the final two runs of the inning.

It was Smith’s third triple in the past two games.

West Ranch answered right back with three runs in the sixth inning, two of which were credited to Grizzlies starter Scott Barlow.

Center fielder Aaron Watkins came up with a two-RBI double in the inning and Dakota Hernandez plated the last run on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 5-4.

Other than that, Wildcat hitters struggled to come through when scoring opportunities presented themselves, leaving 10 runners on base in the game.

“The difference in the game today was they came up with some hits in big situations, and then we had the chance to do the same. We just came up short,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.

The only other run West Ranch scored in the game came off a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Steven Farnworth in the fourth inning, but that was all the Wildcats managed after loading the bases with no outs, giving them a short-lived 1-0 lead.

“We had a chance to play small ball today, lay down some bunts and move some runners along, and it didn’t go well,” Burrill said.

The small-ball advantage went to the Grizzlies, who manufactured their first run in the fourth inning when Anthony San Miguel slid home on a well-executed double steal. With San Miguel standing on third base, teammate Tanner Swire induced a throw toward second when he took off from first.

By the time the throw came back home, San Miguel was well on his way to tying it up 1-1.

Barlow went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs off six hits in a winning effort. Joey Anderson got the save.

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