WOODLAND — Donevan Chavarria made a mistake — and it helped Yolo Post 77 take the Clark Field home opener from visiting Chico, 10-9, in 10 innings on Wednesday night.
After Logan Linney (Woodland High) opened the final frame of this crazy American Legion outing with a double, Yolo’s Andrew Bolich (Davis) pinch-ran for the exhausted catcher. Next, former WHS standout Kiki Gonzalez walked to set the stage for Chavarria’s game-winning faux pas.
With nobody out, third base coach Jeff Lopez, a former Post 77 player himself, called for a bunt.
Chavarria — fresh from his Pioneer High squad shocking the world with a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III baseball crown on Monday — continued to trip the light fantastic. He missed the sign and singled to right, plating Bolich with the winning run.
When you’re hot, you’re hot.
The dramatic ending belied the fact that in the nine-plus innings before, there was some curious baseball being played.
Of note …
* Yolo (3-2) was scoreless through four innings and didn’t get its first hit until Andy Snow smacked an RBI single in the fifth.
* Post 77 and the Nuts (as Chico is known) combined to issue 24 walks (Yolo receiving 16).
* There were four batters hit in a game that took 3 hours and 47 minutes to complete.
* Three double plays were turned by the locals, including one featuring a terrific turn by Bolich at second.
* Thirty-six players — every available body — were used by both teams.
* Chavarria joined his brother Dominique, CIF title-game winning pitcher Andrew Fuentes and center fielder Colton Gunter as Patriots in their Post 77 seasonal debuts.
Woodland High’s Taz Ahmad started for Yolo, going six innings and leaving with a 7-4 lead after the Nuts cracked in Yolo’s four-run fifth and three-run sixth.
But Chico (2-2) rallied for three in the eighth and two more in the ninth as the game stumbled into the 10th inning.
“We used every, single guy,” first-year American Legion skipper Dave Ryan said afterward. “Everybody got a little piece of the action. The way we’re going to move things around this year, when our guys come here, they’d better get ready to play some baseball.”
Lefty Ryan Dufort, Chico’s starter, was solid through three scoreless innings before Post 77 got to Andrew Shippelhoute for those four fifth-inning runs — three of which were unearned.
Consecutive RBI hits by Snow, Gunter and Fuentes were set up by walks and an error. Gonzalez’s single up the middle ended the outburst.
After the Nuts tied things in the sixth, Yolo responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-run single off the wall in left from Fuentes. A hit batter and five walks added to the carnage.
But this see-saw battle saw two more walks, two Nut miscues and Chavarria’s sacrifice bunt give the locals a 9-7 lead entering the ninth.
No one in the crowd figured Chico would go quietly — and their two gift runs in the ninth came via error and tied the contest.
When Gonzalez (1-0) got his guests 1-2-3 in the 10th (only the second time Chico went down in order on the night), it gave Yolo and Chavarria the chance to end it.
Post 77 managed but seven hits — however, the gift of those 18 extra base runners proved fatal to the Nuts. Five of those freebies scored.
Next up for Yolo is a Sunday home game with an outstanding Fairfield team. The contest is the opener of the newly aligned District 6.
Notes: Carlos Enriquez, who pitches for Butte College by way of Woodland High, is expected to help solidify the pitching staff, as is Davis High hurler Ted Riffle (who will report after his Blue Devils meet St. Mary’s this weekend for the SJS D-I title). … Shortstop Snow is a Jesuit product who happens to be Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s cousin. … Chico’s Jackson Murphy mashed a 405-foot homer to dead center in the fifth, giving the Nuts a 3-0 bulge at the time. … Former Davis schools chief Floyd Fenocchio — whose grandson Daniel Henrickson plays for Yolo — was the public-address announcer.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.