The Miners let one slip through their fingers Thursday on their home diamond, losing to Sierra Foothill League rival Granite Bay, 5-3, in extra innings.
“It is very frustrating, and I feel bad for the kids. They’re playing their hearts out and come so close in three or four games now, but we just can’t get it done,” Nevada Union head baseball coach Ted White said. “We know no one is going to lay down for us. We got to find a way to get it done ourselves.”
Nevada Union (5-8, 1-5 SFL) grabbed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth when junior left fielder Brock Grininger ripped a double to the left center field gap, scoring Dalton Maxwell from second base.
Grininger finished the game with two hits from the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
Joey Souza, who drew a walk before Grininger came up, tried to score from first after the ball was bobbled in the outfield and looked to have done so, but it was a close play at the plate, and the umpire called Souza out. That call would prove critical to the game’s outcome.
Souza started the game on the mound for NU and took the one-run lead into the top of the seventh.
Granite Bay (7-6, 3-3 SFL) had struggled against Souza for much of the game, tallying just four hits against the hard-throwing righty up until the seventh.
Trailing by one, Granite Bay’s Devin Lehman started the inning off with a single, his second of the day. The next Grizzly batter tried to lay down a sac bunt but Souza played it nicely and got Lehman out at second. Zach Hall then got a base knock, and a passed ball put Grizzly runners at second and third. A free pass was issued to Granite Bay’s No. 4 hitter, Mitch Hart, who had smoked a base hit the inning before. With the bases loaded, the next batter hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Tristan Cook, who fired home to get the force out. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Miners were on the cusp of their first home win of the season, but on the first pitch Grant Powers saw, he ripped it up the middle to tie the game. Souza would strike out the next batter, but the damage had been done.
Souza took a no-decision after throwing seven innings, allowing seven hits, four walks and three earned runs while striking out five.
“Joey pitched his heart out and threw a great game,” White said.
The Miners, who had been hitting all day, went three up three down in the bottom of the seventh.
Chris Sardo took over in the eighth inning and got the first Grizzly batter to fly out, but a single and a walk put two on. Sardo got the next batter to ground out, but the runners advanced, putting Grizzlies on second and third with two outs. Hall then dug in for Granite Bay and lined a double to left center, plating two runs to grab the edge in extra innings. The Miners limited the damage to just two with the top of their lineup due up in their half of the eighth.
Jakob Freele drew a walk to get things started for NU, but a strikeout, a fielder’s choice out and another strikeout ended the game and gave the series to Granite Bay 2-1.
The Miners are now 1-5 in SFL play after being swept by Rocklin last week and dropping two of three to Granite Bay. NU is also 0-4 on their home diamond and 0-2 in extra inning games.
“Realistically, if we could have gone 2-4 against Granite Bay and Rocklin, we would feel like we were still in it,” White said.
“We went 1-5 and that means we gotta go out and sweep somebody now. If we keep competing, good things will happen.”
The Miners at times were their own worst enemy with four errors, a couple of mis- played balls in the outfield, and 13 runners left stranded, including three innings where NU left the bases loaded.
“We had trouble bringing runners in,” White said. “Shoot, we scored two of our three runs on walks. So we didn’t come up with that key hit. I felt we had several scoring opportunities; we just didn’t get that key hit.”
In the loss, Garrett O’Callaghan had an RBI on a bases loaded walk, as did Cook. Maxwell scored two of NU’s three runs and had a base hit. Noah Arriaga had two hits, Souza had a hit and Conner Upton scored a run.
Junior relief pitcher Chris Sardo took the loss, pitching one inning and allowing two runs.
Granite Bay’s relief pitcher Kevin Baranowski got the win, pitching three innings, allowing two hits and one run.
The Miners will now head south for the San Diego Lions Tournament, which gets started Monday.
JV: Granite Bay 9,
Nevada Union 7
In a tightly contested game, the Miners were dropped by the Grizzlies by two runs.
Austin Butler pitched well for the Miners but ended up with the loss.
Butler lost a little steam in the sixth inning and defensive miscues in the same inning doomed the Miners, as well.
The Miners got the first run of the game when Butler hit a swinging bunt. Brendan McCarthy, who was on third base, waited until the ball was thrown to first and then broke to the plate. McCarthy beat the throw and the Miners took the lead. The Grizzlies answered with one run in their half of the third inning. The Miners then got their second run in the fourth, thanks to a Grizzly error on a pick-off play. Brad Hedger, who had walked, scored from third. The Miners jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the fifth when Butler doubled and later scored on a Jared Stephensen sacrifice fly.
But, in the fateful fifth and sixth innings, the Grizzlies came back to score a total of seven runs and NU never fully recovered.
The Miners take the diamond again against Del Oro April 22.
Frosh: Nevada Union 6, Granite Bay 1
The Miners finally broke through to get their first win in league Thursday, beating Granite Bay by five.
Gary Menary threw a great game, allowing five hits on his way to a complete game. NU banged out nine hits, with Sam Hopper going 3-for-4 with a double. Ben Powell added two hits and Wyatt Curtis was 1-for-2 with a triple.
NU has a tourney during spring break at Del Campo.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It is very frustrating, and I feel bad for the kids. They’re playing their hearts out and come so close in three or four games now, but we just cant get it done.”
NU head coach