On a toasty Tuesday afternoon at Pioneer Park, the Grass Valley Major All-Stars staved off elimination by coming from behind to edge Penn Valley, 5-4.
Grass Valley fell behind 4-0 early in the Area 2 Major All-Stars tourney elimination game, but roared back with clutch hitting and shutdown pitching to earn another chance at the Area 2 title.
The team from Penn Valley, coming off of a shutout defeat at the hands of Sierra Foothill on Monday, wasted no time getting on the board Tuesday.
Penn Valley’s Kyle Farnsworth reached with a one-out walk, then Nick Noll drew a free pass and Matt Zeman also kept a keen eye and walked to load the bases.
Marcus Baccetti then tallied Penn Valley’s first RBI with a bases-loaded walk that scored Farnsworth. Penn Valley pitcher Cody Rueckert then helped himself out with an RBI base knock up the middle to make the score 2-0 in the top of the first.
Rueckert was impressive from the mound for Penn Valley with his rubber-arm whip delivery that had Grass Valley batters guessing early on.
Penn Valley went up 4-0 after a double by Reid Young, an RBI single by Noll that drove in Young and then Zeman, who walked, made his away around the bases for a run after several passed balls.
After Penn Valley added those two in the top of the third, Grass Valley stopped guessing and started hitting.
In the bottom of the third, it was Grass Valley’s turn to get the crowd excited.
Catcher Cy Corbett got things going with a lead-off triple that skipped up the first base line; after an out, Isaac Von Schoff doubled Corbett in when he put one off the right field fence.
Tyler Nielson provided the blast of the night for Grass Valley, taking a 2-2 pitch deep into the trees past the right center field fence to pull Grass Valley to within one. The extra-base brigade wasn’t quite done though as Wade Brooks followed Nielson’s dinger with a triple off the wall.
Penn Valley would halt the bleeding though when Rueckert got the next two Grass Valley batters out, stranding Brooks at third and maintaining their lead.
Penn Valley’s lead would only last another inning though, as Grass Valley capitalized with two runs in the fourth, coming on smart base running.
In the bottom of the fourth, Grass Valley drew three walks, notched a base hit, and scored two runs, all with two outs. Nielson came up in the inning with bases loaded and Penn Valley showed him due respect as its outfielders stood just a few feet off the fence.
Rueckert would get Nielson to strike out on a low pitch, but the ball skipped away from the Penn Valley catcher and Nielson reached first as Finnegan Coffin, who had singled earlier, scored the eventual winning run from third.
For Grass Valley, they used three pitchers with Von Schoff garnering the win. Von Schoff took the mound in relief in the bottom of the third and didn’t allow a hit, gave up one free pass and struck out eight as he closed out the game for Grass Valley.
On the night, Penn Valley players Baccetti (first base), Young (catcher) and Emily West (third base) made strong plays in the field. For Nevada City, the entire infield impressed with no errors and key put-outs on tough grounders. With the win, the Grass Valley All-Stars (1-1) advance to Friday’s game against the winner of today’s matchup between Nevada City (1-0) and Sierra Foothill (1-0). Penn Valley (0-2) will pack it up for the summer with their second loss of the tourney.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.