Woodcreek's Nogosek shuts out Bella Vista in Division II playoffs

Granite Bay wins, Timberwolves lose in best-of-three openers
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Stepping into the batter’s box against a pitcher who brings it at more than 90 mph is one thing. When that pitcher is seeing three of everything, that’s another scary thought for a hitter altogether.

Woodcreek High School gunslinger Stephen Nogosek called a time out with a 3-1 count on Bella Vista’s Dylan Svoboda and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday night and walked slowly toward the Woodcreek dugout.

“Nogo,” as he’s known, chugged some water and poured some down the back of his neck to fight nausea, then went out and finished a three-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory for the Timberwolves in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs at American River College.

“I was seeing three catchers and three hitters, just nauseous,” said the junior right-hander, who walked five and struck out 10. “I started to feel better and went and closed it out. I was finishing no matter what. If I passed out, then they might be able to take me out.”

Woodcreek coach Eric Valencia said Nogosek was sick and without energy all week, yet he reached a pitch count of about 135 against the Capital Valley Conference-champion Broncos (20-7). It was Nogosek’s first outing this season with more than 110 pitches.

Valencia was ready to call on Perry Beaber to close, but Nogosek wanted the ball.

“Nogo’s a special kid. He can go out and dominate a game,” Valencia said. “It’s unfortunate for Bella Vista because they’re a very good team. I was impressed with their pitcher (Ryan Locke), too.”

Nogosek pounded inside with his heater, worked the outside the corner and threw his big-bending curve. Only two outs were recorded on the left side of the infield. Right fielder Austin Blatnick caught five fly balls, and Woodcreek made just one error.

“My teammates just picked me up. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Nogosek said. “Our coaches called a good game. I was pretty nervous coming into this game. I knew they were one of the top-hitting teams in NorCal. It was a blast pitching against them.”

Nevada-bound shortstop Shaun Mize tripled to lead off the game and scored on a passed ball for the only run the Timberwolves (21-6) needed.

Woodcreek scored three runs in the third with two outs on three walks and singles by Alex Montes and Joey Dirkes. Montes stole home when Bella Vista tried to back-pick him.

On Saturday, Granite Bay defeated McClatchy 4-3 and Woodcreek lost to Rocklin 9-0 in the openers of best-of-three semifinal series.

Game two in the Granite Bay-McClatchy series is at 4 p.m. Tuesday with a third game to follow if necessary. The Woodcreek-Rocklin series resumes at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Division VII

Valley Christian 11, Groveland-Tioga 0 — Jimmy Shaw and Micah Gunter combined to pitch a no-hitter at McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks in Sacramento as the Lions (20-6) opened defense of their 2011 section title with their 16th win in a row.

Shaw struck out 10. He allowed one base runner on a dropped third strike in the top of the fourth inning. Right fielder Caleb Van Patten preserved the no-hitter by throwing out a Tioga runner at first base to end the fourth.

Valley Christian scored nine runs in the second. Brian Roush went 3 for 3, Jeremiah Moore had a double and two RBI, and Bronson Buljan drove in two runs.