The Grass Valley and Nevada City Major All-Stars met in a thrilling winner-take-all District 11 Area 2 championship game Sunday night under the lights at Pioneer Park in Nevada City with Grass Valley winning 7-6.
“Hats off to (Nevada City),”said Grass Valley All-Stars manager Jason Weaver. “They have a great team, and it took everything to beat them.”
Both teams brought their bats for this one as each squad put two runs up in the first inning. For Grass Valley, it was Justin DiPietro coming through in the clutch with two outs as he drove in a pair with an RBI single. Nevada City countered in the bottom half of the inning when Dustin Thompson reached on a walk and Brayden Turiello singled. Both would eventually score off a couple of Grass Valley blunders.
“We did what we needed to do with our hitting and pitching,” Weaver said. “This has been DiPietro’s best game. His hitting really came around. Tyler (Nielson) also. He went 3-for-4.”
Dipietro made a name for himself in this contest as he finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs, including an RBI double in the top of the third that banged off the fence in right field to give his team a 5-2 advantage at the time. The kid also had his stuff working for him on the mound for Grass Valley as he started and pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed six runs, four hits, three walks and struck out four. Also racking up hits for Grass Valley were Nielson, Wade Brooks, Cy Corbett and Aja Ellsworth.
Nevada City battled back to tie the game 6-6 in the bottom of the fourth on a couple of defensive miscues after a base hit by Mo Margulies and Evan Hicks reached on a walk. Grass Valley sent Corbett to the mound in relief, and he completed the game as he tossed 2 2/3 innings, yielded just one hit and fanned two batters. Grass Valley earned the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth off the bat of DiPietro when he drove in Nielson.
For Nevada City, it was Turiello who got the start and threw five strong innings to keep his team in the game as he surrendered seven runs and nine hits and struck out five. He was later relieved by Jean-Luc Lewis who tossed the final inning and struck out a batter to get out of a jam with two runners on after he had walked and beaned a batter. Collecting hits for Nevada City were Dustin Thompson, Turiello, Stephen DeSena and Margulies.
Defensive web gems of the game were made by Nevada City’s second baseman, Thompson, for an incredible snag and put out on a ground ball. Also making his presence known on defense was Grass Valley’s right fielder, Henry Negrete, who hustled over and made a sliding catch along the foul line.
Everyone on the team contributed to this win, especially on offense, added Weaver, who believes his team can compete with its next opponent from the Tri-City Little League. It was apparent his players believed in him, too, afterward when they doused him with ice water from a Gatorade cooler behind the dugout and expressed their gratitude.
With the victory, Grass Valley now advances to the District 11 Major All-Stars championship where it will take on Sunday night’s Area 1 winner between Lincoln and Rocklin. The championship will feature a one-game winner-take-all format due to the fact that both teams have already lost once in the double-elimination tournament and will be played at 6:30 p.m. today at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin.
Grass Valley 10, Nevada City 8
The Grass Valley All-Stars staved off elimination for a third time in the Little League Major division Area 2 All-Star tournament, beating Nevada City, 10-8, Saturday to force Sunday’s all or nothing game for the local title.
Leading the offensive charge for Grass Valley was clean-up hitter Wade Brooks who went deep in the third inning, added another base knock in the fourth, scored twice and drew a pair of free passes. Finnegan Coffin, Derek Weaver Tucker Ramos, Isaac Von Schoff and Henry Negrete Kyle Cuniberti all added big hits in the win.
Von Schoff tallied the win from the mound, his second of the tourney, going five innings with seven strikeouts and only two walks.
For Nevada City, Brayden Turiello led the way from the plate with four RBIs coming off a single and a double. Dustin Thompson, Jaxon Green, Carter DePue and Mo Margulies all added hits in the game.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sports Editor Walter Ford contributed to this story.