Every baseball game in the Delta Valley Conference is important, especially when any combination of the Big Three — Davis High, Franklin and Elk Grove — get together.
On a Tuesday afternoon against Franklin, when the Blue Devils looked like cooked geese after just four batters, DHS hurler Bobby Young settled in and led the first-place locals to a 3-2 home victory.
It was Devil freshman Ryan Kreidler’s late two-run single that eventually provided the margin of victory.
Davis is now 13-5 overall and 6-0 in DVC. The Wildcats fell to 8-9 and 3-3.
Young allowed the first four batters he faced to reach base (three infield singles and a hit batter) and, after one inning, the Blue Devils had allowed just one ball (a fly out) to escape the infield, yet trailed 2-0.
For the next five innings, DHS found no solution against Franklin starter Cameron Keup. The big right-hander allowed just three hits in that stretch, and only one Devil runner even reached third.
Still, Young kept the locals in the game — at one point retiring 12 straight hitters — though still trailing by that 2-0 margin.
“It’s about damage control. Stay out of the big inning,” Davis coach Dan Ariola said afterward, adding that negative thoughts “just didn’t cross my mind.”
“They didn’t score four or five. That would have been tough. They got just two. They should have gotten more, but we made it manageable.”
With the first run already in, the bases loaded and no outs, Franklin designated hitter Riley Simmons spanked a lazy sacrifice fly to left. Catcher Nick Frei followed with looping liner to Trey Golston and the Devil third baseman made the catch going toward second before throwing to second baseman Joe Murray to complete the double play.
With that web gem, the complexion of the game changed.
Young didn’t allowed another hit until a two-out double in the sixth.
The hurler’s complete-game performance — which Ariola called Young’s “best ever” — gave DHS a chance for its sixth-inning heroics.
Murray started the rally by working Keup (1-3) for a walk. John Ariola was nicked by a pitch and Chris Daunt’s player’s manual sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out.
Young was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Blue Devil DH Matt Trask, who smacked a high bouncer deep in the hole. Shortstop Hank LoForte fielded it on the outfield grass and held the ball as Murray scampered home. The play was scored an infield hit and an RBI for the .372-hitting Trask and the bases remained loaded.
C.K. Hicks replaced Trask at first.
Keup exited and on came reliever Connor Adams.
Enter Mr. Kreidler …
The freshman shortstop laced an 0-1 pitch into the teeth of a 20 mph wind. Headed toward the left-field gap, the ball was held up by the elements, but so perfectly placed it hit earth before Wildcat outfielders could intervene.
Murray and Ariola raced home and Davis had come all the way back.
But there was still the top of the seventh.
The Devils had reliable reliever Jake Miille playing first base, but another solid stopper — Adam Inouye — was available.
But Ariola, wanting all-hands on deck for Thursday’s important series finale at Franklin, sent Young out for that last three outs.
Frei, the all-league catcher, singled on Young’s first pitch of the inning. But Golston came charging down Trent Spallas’ throat when the Wildcat squared to bunt. Golston took the attempt on one hop and fired to Kreidler for one. Kreidler went on to Miille for the improbable 5-6-3 double play.
Young’s third strikeout (of hard-luck Keup) sent Franklin packing.
On the day, Young (3-3, 3.11 ERA) scattered five hits and didn’t walk a batter. No one reached third after the first inning.
“I really happy with Bobby,” Ariola said. “He was throwing the ball hard, keeping it down. We really needed that and Bobby delivered for us.”
Notes: In memory of the Boston Marathon victims, the stadium flag was at half-staff. … The Advanced Treble Choir (Liz Ritter, Juliana Burris, Ilana Creinin, Julia Gladding, Chrisy Aguilera, Stephanie Tauzer, Katy Zaragoza-Smith and Natalie Shuman) provided a rousing rendition of the national anthem. … From the Wouldn’t You Know It Dept.: Murray returned to his position at second after DHing for a couple of weeks with a right shoulder strain. On the first pitch of the game, LoForte bounced a ball over second. Murray fielded it and threw across his body, going away from first, and almost nailed LoForte. A windmill motion by Murray signified all was well with his shoulder.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.