After scoring a run in each of its first three innings for a 3-1 advantage, the Grass Valley American Legion baseball club couldn’t hold itself together down the stretch as El Dorado made the most of some Grass Valley blunders for a 6-3 comeback victory.
“There were a couple of innings where we had runners in scoring position,” said head coach Jim Souza after the loss. “It was the little things, a missed throw. Errors let (El Dorado) get into the game, then they were more confident.”
An RBI single gave El Dorado an early 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, but in the bottom half, the Miners’ Joe Souza made it all square with sac fly to drive in a run. In the second inning, Jakob Freele put a ball in play that was not handled well, and Grass Valley went up 2-1. Nolan Fillman did the same for the Miners in third as El Dorado committed another error and Joe Souza scored, but the tide soon turned after that. Grass Valley finished with just five hits for the game.
“Once we get ahead, we have to keep pouring it on,” added Souza. “We can’t let them think they have a chance. El Dorado is a good team. They’re well coached. It’s good for our guys to see a team like this.”
Tristan Cook started on the mound and went 4 1/3 innings for Grass Valley. He had done well up until the middle of the fifth inning when his defense committed an error to allow the leadoff batter to reach base. After inducing a pop out, Cook then walked the next hitter before he handed the ball over to Chris Sardo. With runners on first and second, El Dorado hit a ground ball sharply to first base, which was fielded cleanly and thrown home, but no out was made on the play. Asher Hammargren then proceeded into the batter’s box and hammered a monster bases-clearing double to straight-away center field to give his team a 4-3 lead.
“We should have hit the ball when we had the opportunities,” explained Souza. “All of them need to step up.”
Grass Valley left two runners on in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth, two more in the sixth and one in the seventh. The team was also missing Dylan Conger, Garrett O’Callaghan and Conner Upton, who had summer obligations to attend to, said Souza.
In the top half of the seventh, El Dorado had consecutive hits to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Sardo, who pitched 2 2/3 innings while allowing three runs and fanning five batters, struck out the next batter, but later, a successful squeeze play and a sacrifice fly gave El Dorado some insurance. The team scattered 13 hits in the game.
“We’ll see them again on Saturday,” Souza said. “Joey (Souza) is going to be the starter in that game. After that, we get a week off for the Fourth of July, then start a three-game series with Placer.”
The Miners (12-4) will have a chance to redeem themselves 10 a.m. Saturday when they meet El Dorado again at Union Mine High School.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.