The Grass Valley Junior All-Star team endured two extra-inning games as it lost its first game of the District 11 tournament Saturday to Bear River but bounced back Sunday to earn a hard-fought win over Lincoln to keep its title hopes alive.
After a bang-bang play at first base, Grass Valley had to tip its cap to the Bear River Junior All-Stars who came away with a 10-9 victory in a grueling eight-inning contest Saturday night at Condon Park.
What started four hours earlier ended in heartbreaking fashion for Grass Valley with the tying run stranded on third and winning run on first. Jonathan Weaver threw five strong innings and surrendered five runs. Ben Powell, Ty Trahen and Gary Menary all took the mound to contribute an inning of relief.
The Grass Valley Junior squad trailed 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh and rallied to tie it on singles from Andrew Link and Luke Cornish. Tanner Wirick, Menary and Powell all walked to reach base, and Jarod Gobert and Kyle Felhaber were hit by pitches to force in runs. Bear River scored twice in the top of the eighth, but Grass Valley could only muster one as it fell short. Felhaber and Link each had two hits for the game, while Wirick, Powell, Adam Dennis and Cornish each had one.
With a quick turnaround, Grass Valley was back at the ball park Sunday night against the Lincoln Junior All-Stars. Menary started on the mound for Grass Valley and pitched three innings as he gave up three runs on four hits. Lincoln found itself down 6-3 but chipped away to tie the game 6-6 in the seventh. Grass Valley threatened to end it in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh, but a nice catch in left field forced the game to extras. In the bottom of the eighth, Menary walked and stole second base to get into scoring position. He later advanced on an error in the infield. With two outs and the winning run on third, the ball got away from the catcher, and Menary scored to give Grass Valley a 7-6 victory. Getting hits for Grass Valley were Felhaber, Weaver, Link and Cornish. Powell and Felhaber pitched 1 1/3 and 1 2/3 innings respectively before Link entered the game to throw the final two innings.
Grass Valley plays Sierra Foothills at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Condon Park.