Roseville, Woodcreek take turns winning in last at-bat
Eric Valencia learned in two days this week what the rest of the Sierra Foothill League’s baseball coaches have known as long as each has been around.
Said Valencia, in his first year at Woodcreek after a 10-year stint at Wheatland, “I told Hank (Roseville coach DeMello), ‘If this is the way it’s going to be, I’m in for a long season.’”
DeMello’s chuckling reply: “Welcome to the SFL.”
Roseville (4-9), which labored at times through its nonleague schedule, started SFL play Tuesday by chasing Woodcreek top gun Stephen Nogosek after four innings and winning 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
Dalton Blaser drew a leadoff walk and scored from second when a bunt was thrown into right field. Roseville tried to win it then and there, but Nogosek, playing right, gunned down the potential winning run at the plate. Blake Rivera eventually drew the walk-off walk.
“They didn’t give up,” DeMello said of his Tigers. “They said, ‘Hey, we got this.’”
Roseville senior Mark Reece scattered eight hits and allowed one earned run. He walked three and struck out five.
On Wednesday, the Tigers and Timberwolves (11-2) lit the scoreboard. Woodcreek’s Shaun Mize drove in four runs, and Roseville’s Dylan McBride hit a two-run bomb to tie it 7-7 in the sixth.
The teams then couldn’t score at all until the last of the 11th, when Woodcreek junior Tyler Milani hit a winning two-strike double down the left-field line.
“I got a lot more gray hairs lately,” Valencia said.
Woodcreek’s win overshadowed stellar relief efforts by Roseville’s Marcus Garcia and Woodcreek’s Devin Astor.
Garcia inherited a runner in the fifth and struck out the side. He went on to allow one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings. Garcia overcame five walks, escaped jams and struck out seven.
“He was phenomenal,” DeMello said. “He gave us an opportunity to win it.”
Because rain hammered the area late Wednesday and all day Thursday, and with more in the forecast, some games scheduled for Friday already were being canceled. DeMello wasn’t hopeful Thursday afternoon after seeing Clancy Field under water.
“It looked like the Missouri River,” he said. “I was looking for Lewis and Clark out there.”
That makes next week’s SFL slate even more vicious. By rule, teams must make up games on the next available date. If the rain goes away, two teams would play four games next week, and four teams would play five games.