The fireworks came a day early as the Nevada City All-Stars and the Sierra Foothills All-Stars came together in an offensive explosion Wednesday at Pioneer Park.
In a matchup between the two unbeaten teams in the Area 2 Major Division All-Star tournament, the Nevada City team grabbed an early lead, expandit, then held off a furious comeback and to win 15-9.
“After our performance the other night, I expected to put some runs up,” Nevada City manager Danny Turiello said. “I thought we had a real good shot, but I didn’t expect 15.”
Nevada City, which scored 10 against Grass Valley in its opening game, wasted no time scoring against Sierra Foothills as it plated two runs in the top of the first inning. Second baseman Dustin Thompson got things going with a leadoff double that crashed off the wall. Brayden Turiello then drew a walk. Both players advanced on passed balls with Thompson eventually taking home on a ball that skipped passed the Sierra Foothills catcher. Nevada City’s Carter DePue also drew a walk putting runners on first and third. DePue didn’t hesitate on the base paths as he looked to steal second, forcing Sierra Foothills to either concede the base or attempt a throw out. When DePue took off, Sierra Foothills threw to second, but it was cut by an infielder who then fired home to try and get a charging Brayden Turiello who had taken off from third. Brayden Turiello, Sierra Foothills’ catcher, and the ball reached home at the same time with a wicked collision that saw the ball trickle loose and Turiello called safe at home. After the collision, Turiello writhed in pain on the ground and was eventually helped to the bench, but his day would not be over as he shook the injury aside and returned to play.
Turiello finished the day 1-for-1 with a base knock to go with three walks. Thompson went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored. DePue went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Nevada City’s two-run lead was short lived, as Sierra Foothills rallied back with three runs in the bottom of the first. Michael Struck led off with a double, Evan Patrick drove him in, and Sam Smith and Will Vereyken followed with hits and eventually scored.
Not liking the feeling of being behind, Nevada City answered back in a big way, scoring seven runs in the top of the second and sending 11 batters to the plate. In the inning, Thompson doubled and scored, Turiello walked and scored, Jaxon Greene doubled and scored, DePue singled and scored, Bennett King drove a run in and scored, Stephen DeSena singled in a run, Michael Highsmith singled and scored, Mo Marguilies doubled and scored, and Jeremy Calisterio added an RBI.
Green finished the day 1-for-2 with two RBIs, DeSena went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored, and Marguilies finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
With a solid 9-3 lead, Nevada City starting pitcher Calisterio settled in and shut down Sierra Foothills. Calisterio pitched until the fifth inning, allowing just one more earned run after first while striking out six and walking one before being pulled after reaching the allotted pitch count.
“(Calisterio’s) got some speed,” Danny Turiello said. “He also throws some off-speed, and he locates pretty well. He moves it around, and he keeps guys off balance.”
Nevada City added four more runs in the third to push the lead to 10 with the big hit coming off DePue’s bat, a double that plated two.
Sierra Foothills wasn’t going to go away that easily. After all, this was the squad that hung 21 on Penn Valley just two days earlier. Sierra Foothill plated five runs in the fifth, coming off smart base running and clutch hitting, eventually pulling within four at 13-9.
With momentum swinging toward the Sierra Foothills dugout, Nevada City didn’t relent, responding with two insurance runs, both coming with two outs, in the top of the sixth.
“They came back,” Danny Turiello said. “They were responsible for part of it. We were responsible for part of it, but we came back with two outs and put two on the board at the end of the game, and that brought us up and took the wind out of their sails.”
With just three outs left, it was up to Brayden Turiello, on the mound, and the Nevada City defense to close the game, and they did not falter. After allowing a leadoff single to Sierra Foothills’ Patrick, Brayden Turiello faced Smith, who at the time was 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Smith ripped a ball back up the middle, and Brayden Turiello made an exceptional play to snatch the liner, then fire to first to double up Patrick. Brayden Turiello struck out the next batter, raised his hands in jubilation and was engulfed by his team.
Nevada City (2-0) now has the inside track to the Area 2 championship, as it will next play in the championship round against the winner of the Grass Valley (1-1) vs. Sierra Foothill (2-0) match set for Friday.
“It was critical,” Danny Turiello said of the win. “Now we come back with our ace on Saturday, and I will still have plenty of relief pitching available.”
DePue, who started the game in Monday’s 10-3 victory over Grass Valley, said he is excited to throw Saturday and looks forward to the challenge.
Thompson said if Nevada City is to win it all, it will be because it continues to play its game.
“Same thing we’ve been doing,” he said, “we need to hit and field good.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.