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One up, one down for Grizzly baseball on tourney's day one

Woodcreek also splits pair, VCA loses twice
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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Two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth allowed the Granite Bay High baseball team to break a 3-3 tie and go on to a 6-3 win in its first tourney game Monday. The Grizzlies used a makeshift lineup to take care of El Camino. Tyler Bibbins got the start and pitched into the fifth before being relieved by Travis Israel, who picked up the win out of the pen. The Grizzlies jumped on top first with two in the third as Jake Riffice and Jake Marjama each drove in a run. After El Camino evened things in the fourth, the Grizzlies got one back when Riley Drongesen scored on a ground ball out. The Eagles responded once again, tying the game in the top of the fifth inning. Sam Flajole singled in the fifth, and scored on an error to put Granite Bay on top to stay, and Matt Gifford drove in the second run that inning. “Gifford had a great day,” said Granite Bay assistant coach Dave Brown. “With his play and (Sean) Sundberg being on base four times, it was a good performance by these guys.” Missed opportunities were the story of the Granite Bay nightcap, a 7-4 loss to Woodland. Granite Bay stranded 10 runners, while the Wolves left eight runners on base as the teams combined for 25 hits. A three-run fifth was decisive for Woodland as the Wolves used that stanza to break a 3-3 tie. The game opened strong for Woodland, as it looked like the Wolves would knock Grizzly starter Josh Hall out of the box early. Five first-inning hits yielded just two runs as the first six Woodland hitters reached base safely. Four singles opened the inning, but Granite Bay catcher Nate Esposito gunned down one runner attempting to take an extra base during a play at the plate to limit the damage. With the bases loaded and one out, Hall induced a ground ball to shortstop Travis Israel that went for an inning-ending double play. A walk, a pair of passed balls and an error got one back for Granite Bay before any outs were recorded in the home half of the first, but three successive strikeouts, the last two looking kept the Grizzlies from doing any additional damage. After Woodland scored one more in the top of the third, it was Granite Bay’s turn to string together five consecutive singles. Hits by Israel, Lydell Moseby, Teddy Bryant, Joe Mauro and Trevor Trinidad plated two runs and loaded the bases with one out, but an this time the double-play ball bit Granite Bay to end the rally. A two-out, two-run singled on a 3-2 pitch was the key blow in Woodland’s decisive three-run fifth, and the Grizzlies were unable to recover. They had one in, on an Israel single followed by a Moseby two-bagger, with two runners on base in the fifth, but could not deliver the big hit. Israel banged out four hits in the second game, as Moseby and Trinidad each added a pair of knocks. Drongesen closed out the game on the bump for Granite Bay, his first pitching appearance since Little League. The Grizzlies (11-5) are also in the consolation bracket, and will host Bella Vista on Tuesday with eyes on playing in Wednesday’s consolation championship game. Woodcreek split a pair of games on Monday, hanging tough with powerful Yuba City before a four-run seventh cost the Timberwolves a 7-4 decision. The Timberwolves (6-9) beat Rio Americano, and also moved on to the consolation bracket for play yesterday and today. The Valley Christian Academy Lions are in their first season in this tournament, and took it on the chin twice on Monday, with losses to two area powers, Bella Vista and Ponderosa. The Lions moved on to the lower bracket, where they faced El Camino yesterday.