Wednesday, July 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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McNece’s game-winning hit pushes DHS into the second round

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DHS junior Jared McNece delivers the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Granite Bay, 2-1, in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page B1 | May 13, 2014 |

“I was supposed to put down a bunt, but I thought, ‘I should swing through,’ … I thought it was right,” said Davis High junior Jared McNece, whose Blue Devil teammates are thankful that he decided to take a hack.

McNece’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning sent DHS past Granite Bay, 2-1, in both teams’ Sac-Joaquin Section playoff opener. The Devils’ home win sets up a second-round matchup with Vacaville on Thursday (4 p.m.) at Sacramento City College.

The first two rounds of the SJS tournament are single elimination.

“(These guys are) scrappers,” said Davis pitching coach Marc Kenner, who took over after skipper Dan Ariola was ejected in the third inning for arguing a strike call.

“I think we had lost three in a row coming into this game, and they were still confident and ready to play. They didn’t get overwhelmed when we went down by one run. Great kids, great senior group, they’re probably the most talented kids we got.”

After a pitchers duel worthy of the two MLB prospects on the mound — Blue Devil ace Matt Trask and Grizzly flame-thrower Mitch Hart each went seven strong innings — DHS made the most of a scoring opportunity in the ninth.

Senior Trey Golston led off the frame by blasting a 2-1 pitch into deep left-center field for a double. A visibly fired up Golston slid into second and stood up, flashing Johnny Manziel’s signature “Money” celebration.

And “money” is the perfect way to describe what happened next. Junior Nate Curtis laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Golston to third and, after Granite Bay intentionally walked Quentin McCray, McNece stepped up and won it with a bouncing ball up the middle.

“The kids played hard, they played pitch-by-pitch, and they didn’t get nervous in the extended innings,” Kenner said. “They just played really hard.”

After a scoreless first two frames, Grizzly Vinny Esposito opened the top of the third by slapping a ball into shallow right field. When the ball slipped under the glove of a diving McCray, Esposito ended up at third with a triple.

The next Granite Bay hitter, Zach Hall, gave his team a 1-0 lead with a quick flip of a bat. Little did the Grizzlies know, it was the last run they would get off of Trask and reliever Brett Bloomfield, who earned the win with two shutout innings.

Later in the third, Hart injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder after swinging at one of Trask’s fastballs. The 6-foot-3 hurler was in a lot of pain, reportedly separating his shoulder.

But the injury didn’t affect his ability to pitch. Like Trask, Hart gave up just one run in seven innings of work.

“Hey, the kid pitched a heckuva game,” Kenner said. “He separated his shoulder swinging and he was still able to gut it out and pitch seven innings. We fought to get that one run off of him and we were fortunate.”

Before getting the tying run, a mistake in the bottom of the third inning cost the Devils one of their best chances to score.

Just moments after Ariola was ejected, Davis had two runners in scoring position and sophomore slugger Ryan Kreidler at the plate.

However, in a moment of pure shock, Blue Devil Drew Gnos took off from third base during Hart’s wind-up in an attempt to steal home. GBHS catcher Jordan Vujovich tagged out Gnos to end the threat without Kreidler and his .418 average getting to finish his at-bat.

“It was partly because I didn’t know the signs and I screwed it up,” Kenner said. “It was my fault; I should’ve let Ryan hit. I had timed (Hart), I thought there was plenty of time. Drew thought he was safe, but it was my fault.”

But DHS made up for the mishap in the bottom in the sixth as John Ariola led off by taking one for the team. Two well-executed sacrifices moved him to third and Trask helped himself with an RBI single to right field.

Notes: Trask scattered eight hits and struck out three, while Hart fanned six and allowed five hits. … Dan Ariola will not be allowed to coach Thursday’s game. … Kenner said the Devils will have all of their arms except Trask available against Vacaville — including Bloomfield.

— Reach Thomas Oide at toide@davisenterprise.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

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  • May 13, 2014 - 9:47 am

    "After a pitchers duel worthy of the two MLB prospects on the mound..." This sentence should read MiLB prospects.....getting drafted is one thing, but making it to the show is extremely rare. Players who were standouts in HS and college once again become ordinary, competing against kids from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela who grew up with NOTHING and are extremely hungry and driven. Cody Keefer was lauded as the next Detroit Tigers LF in the Enterprise a couple years back as you may recall. He was promoted to A-advanced ball this year only to bat under .200 with no power and get demoted back to single-A ball, where he continues to struggle. Ben Eckels, same thing...demoted to extended spring training this season after struggling mightily. The point is being a standout player in a small town and getting drafted is great, but it takes A LOT of hard work, talent, and good luck to ever set foot on a big league diamond.

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  • May 13, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    Ariola arguing a strike call, continues To show his inability to understand the game and be the laughing stock Of highschool baseball.

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  • May 13, 2014 - 5:21 pm

    HS baseball??? Get a life let the kids have fun and set an role model for these young adults.

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  • Davis ballplayerMay 13, 2014 - 6:52 pm

    Dan Ariola has taken a team of his to two section championships in the past 15 years alone, and has captured 5 DVC league titles in the last 7 years. If he is the "laughing stock" of high school baseball, please enlighten me with your definition of the term. He coaches in arguably the toughest league in Northern California, and has success year in and year out. As for the guy mocking keefer and eckles, how is your pro baseball career coming? Those two have both advanced 3+ levels in MiLB in their first 4 years. Eckels was rated the d-backs' 18th best prospect at the year's start. They're just fine.

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  • Mike HenleMay 13, 2014 - 9:25 pm

    Big Win for the Big Blue........Now Beat them Dogs!

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  • Mike HenleMay 13, 2014 - 9:40 pm

    If your going to bad mouth Blue Devil Baseball coach, Dan Ariola, have some guts and post your name, you coward! Coach, Dan Ariola is one of the best coaches in the area and his record speaks for itself. The Blue Devil Baseball program is one of the finest in the area as they have proved it again this season. I don't know why you would even take a shot at two of the finest former Blue Devils players, Cody Keefer and Ben Eckels, when they are currently playing for two major league farm systems. They both represented Blue Devil Baseball to the highest level of class! You on the other hand, must have gotten cut back from the DHS team and are still holding a grudge about it! Move on and get a life, you coward! GO BIG BLUE!

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  • May 14, 2014 - 8:18 am

    Not taking shots at either...just stating the facts, guy...have a gander at Milb.com to see for yourself. The Enterprise has a tendency to hype these guys up as if they will immediately report to the big league club after being drafted when nothing could be further from the truth. Both WERE high school standouts and big fish in a small pond. Both are NOW ordinary and competing against the WORLD'S best players and are looking much more ordinary. Also not sure I would agree that Keefer was a class act, nor his old man by a long shot.......

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  • Mike HenleMay 18, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    If you had any guts, you would post your name and step up! But you hide in the shadows! Ariola is a class act of a coach! Blue Devil Baseball is rolling forward and is the most consistent winner in the Big Sports at DHS every year! Stop stirring the SH--! It's high school baseball and these coaches and players are busting their tales to win a championship! Move ON! GO BIG BLUE!

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  • Mike HenleMay 18, 2014 - 6:24 pm

    I personally know Mr. Keefer, and his son. They are good people! You, are not, since you have to take shots at them, like your doing right now. Cody has worked very hard to get where he is at! Can you say that? No! Stop being jealous and move on! If you have any guts when you post a comment, post your name to it! GO BIG BLUE!

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