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Foothill League baseball: A shot in the park

Rare inside-the-park slam sends Canyon to win

Posted: May 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Canyon had been leaving runners on base all afternoon.

Cole Mears put a stop to that — and to Golden Valley’s quest for its first Foothill League win of the season.

Shortly after an error gave Canyon new life, Mears hit an inside-the-park grand slam and the Cowboys beat the Grizzlies 9-7 on Wednesday at Golden Valley High School.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Mears said. “We’ve had close games, and we hadn’t been able to pull them all out.”

Heading into the seventh inning, Canyon (7-17 overall, 3-9 Foothill League) had stranded eight baserunners and trailed 7-5.

Adam Evans led off with a single but Golden Valley reliever John Mark Niednagel retired the next two batters.

After a walk to Mark Poetker, Jeremy Leonardo hit a grounder toward second that was bobbled, allowing Leonardo to beat the throw to first.

“It’s getting a break,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer, “and then it’s Cole taking care of business.”

Mears swatted a hanging curveball deep into left field, and Grizzlies outfielder Billy Fredrick — who just an inning earlier had made an impressive running catch to deny Mears an extra-base hit — ran headfirst into the wall trying to make the play.

By the time center fielder Josh Lampariello scooped up the ball and threw it back to the infield, Mears was motoring around third and on his way to giving Canyon a two-run lead.

Safe to say, Mears had never had a hit like that.

“No,” he said, with a smile.

Golden Valley felt differently.

“That’s the story of our year right there,” said head coach Scott Drootin. “We had it. We should have had an out.”

After Canyon scored a run in the top of the first, the Grizzlies (4-18, 0-12) jumped ahead thanks to a four-run bottom half, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of starting pitcher Joseph Garrett that scored Jonah Sabedra and Lukas Granado.

The Cowboys got a run back in the top of the second and tied the score in the fourth, when Kevin Morrice hit a two-run triple with two outs to plate Leonardo and Mears.

Golden Valley responded with some two-out lightning of its own in the bottom of the fourth. After the first two batters flew out, Chris Galvez and Fredrick drew walks. Lampariello singled to score Galvez, and Fredrick alertly scored when Canyon failed to cover home plate on the throw from the outfield.

Lampariello later scored himself on another error.

At that point, Schulhofer brought Justin Stark on in relief for starter Max Weinstein, and Stark gave up no runs and no hits with four walks over the final 3 1/3 innings.

“Justin gave us some excitement,” Schulhofer said. “He kept them silent a couple innings and let us chip away.”

Canyon’s Chris Serrano scored on a sacrifice fly by Sam Fujishige in the fifth inning, putting the Cowboys in position for their rally.

Mears scored three times and went 3-for-4, while Morrice and Evans both went 2-for-4.

Fredrick walked three times and scored twice for Golden Valley, while Lampariello was 2-for-2 with two runs and a walk.
The heart of the Grizzlies’ order combined to strike out eight times.

“You can’t make mistakes against anybody in this league,” Drootin said. “It cost us.”

661-287-5536

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