After 11 intense innings, Honkers edge Miners
Dillon Jones was not about to come out of Tuesday’s extra-inning, home-opening nail-biter against three-time defending section champion Yuba City.
Even though Nevada Union’s senior righthander had already thrown seven innings of action, Jones was determined to take the hill in the eighth inning.
“I wouldn’t let him take me out,” Jones said with a slight smile. “Yuba City is such a solid program and I love pitching against really good teams.
“And today, for some reason, I felt I could do even more.”
Jones shouldered the load for the Miners through eight innings, but finally relented after racking up 13 strikeouts, while allowing one earned run on six hits and two walks.
In the end, though, his performance went down in the book as a no-decision, with Yuba City eventually pulling out a 4-3 victory in 11 innings.
“I only wanted him to go seven,” NU coach Ted White said. “But he basically said ‘No, I want to go back out there.’ He really wanted that one. He pitched his heart out.”
Even after their ace stepped off the mound, the Miners (1-1) continued to keep pace with the perennial powerhouse as Ethan McGill came on in relief of Jones, pitching two scoreless innings against the Honkers.
But in the top of the 11th, Yuba City sophomore Zach Oakley scored the eventual game-winning run when Nevada Union third baseman Richie Osborne’s couldn’t come up with a hot shot by David Schroeder with two outs.
“Anytime you have an opportunity against a team like Yuba City, you’ve played well,” White said. “Defensively, for the most part, we played pretty well, although there were a couple of things there where we gave up some runs.
“But that’s a great program. And our kids competed. They flat-out competed. This gives us some confidence that we can compete. We’ve just got to show up and get after it.”
Nevada Union was within a few feet of winning the game in the 10th, when senior Broughan Jantz belted a single to right field with runners on first and second. But Yuba City’s Zak Morgan came up with a game-saving throw to the plate to put at Osborne trying to score from second.
“I knew we had to take a shot there,” White said. “And it was going to take a perfect throw to the plate get him. After 10 innings of that kind of ball game, it’s a crapshoot. If we don’t try, we’ve got bases load with one out. But, again, it was going to take a perfect throw and we were taking a chance to win it there.”
Jantz led the Miners at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Dusty Zeisler had two singles and scored two runs, while McGill also had two hits with an RBI and Osborne added a double for the Miners.
Yuba City’s Oakley picked up with win on the mound, after relieving starter Sam Kuykendall in the bottom of the sixth following McGill’s RBI single knotted the game at 3-3. Kuykendall had eight strikeouts, while allowing one earned run. Oakley allowed six hits with two strikeouts, but kept the Miners scoreless in the final five frames.
“Today, we kind of showed how we have the opportunity to be a good team,” Jones said. “(Yuba City) is a very good team. It just shows we have enough talent, and if we really want it, we can win.
“We were one hit away or one error away today. But when two good ball teams play each other, that’s how it ends.”
Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.