Grass Valley gets off to good start
With the exception of a fifth-inning hiccup, Richie Osborne kept the opposing bats quiet while leading his Grass Valley 9-and-10-year-old All Star team to a 6-4 win over Sierra Foothills Tuesday at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley.
The District 11, Area 2 first-round game started slowly and was tied at zero after the first inning, but Grass Valley picked up a quick three runs in the top of the second thanks to RBI-singles from Sammy Dardick and Josiah Paye.
Sierra Foothills answered with two runs in the bottom half of the second to come within one run. And in the third, after Grass Valley went ahead 4-2 in the top half, Sierra Foothills came back to tie the score at four.
With momentum still appearing to be on Grass Valley’s side, Sierra Foothills pitcher Scott Wright struck out two and forced a ground out in the fourth to momentarily stop the bleeding.
Osborne would not be shown up however, and retaliated by striking out the side in the bottom of the fourth.
After being shut out again in the fifth inning, Grass Valley looked ready to hand the lead over to Sierra Foothill as Osborne walked two straight to open the inning. But after a brief conference with manager Len Gardner, Osborne found his old self and, with help from his defense, sent the next three batters back to the bench.
“I told Richie to stop trying to blow everyone away,” Gardner said. “These young guys don’t understand that you can’t throw heat all six innings. Especially not when it’s this hot.”
Grass Valley pulled ahead permanently in the sixth and final frame. With Paye’s second RBI of the game, this time a triple, knocking in Caden Maves, GV pulled ahead 5-4. And when Paye scored on a passed ball, the lead was lengthened to two runs, where it remained through the final out.
Seven players had hits for Grass Valley, including Paye, who went 4 for 4 in the game with two singles, a double and a triple,
Dardick, Maves, Cody Gardner, Chris Nix, and Gabe Harris all had singles in the win, as did Osborne, who in six innings of work totaled six strikeouts, gave up four hits and walked seven.
“Talk about a team effort,” Len Gardner said. “It’s great to see a team start to slip like that and then come back together. I guess all that running (in practice) paid off.”
Over the next week, Grass Valley will have time to prepare itself for the winner of tonight’s 5 p.m. Penn Valley-Bear River matchup as the next game isn’t scheduled until Wednesday (July 7).
Sierra Foothills, on the other hand, plays again Tuesday against Nevada City in the consolation bracket, in which both teams face possible elimination from tournament play.
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Highly successful postseason runs come to an end for local Little League teams