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One mistake too many for Golden Valley

Hart escapes with win in back-and-forth battle at GV

Posted: March 19, 2010 11:27 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2010 4:30 a.m.
Golden Valley second baseman Billy Fredrick attempts to tag out Hart’s Kevin Bailey on Friday at Golden Valley High. Golden Valley second baseman Billy Fredrick attempts to tag out Hart’s Kevin Bailey on Friday at Golden Valley High.
Golden Valley second baseman Billy Fredrick attempts to tag out Hart’s Kevin Bailey on Friday at Golden Valley High.

When Hart catcher Kevin Bailey stepped to the plate with his team trailing at Golden Valley High by one run Friday, the Indians needed their offense to give them another chance.

Bailey got them just enough. And then the Grizzlies gave a little more.

His two-RBI single in the top of the sixth brought home Tyler Glasnow and Pat Valaika for the go-ahead runs in a 10-9 Hart victory in both teams’ league opener.

Golden Valley missed a relay toss that sent Bailey to third. Then he crossed the plate on a balk that gave his team a two-run advantage.

It was a fitting final lead change.

The Grizzlies and Indians had been helping each other get ahead all afternoon to combine for a seemingly gloveless, 15-error contest that both coaches seemed eager to put behind them.

“It’s better to be lucky than good,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “That’s about all there is to say. We weren’t very good because that’s about as ugly as we’ve played in some time — quite some time.”

It was Golden Valley that took the first lead, when Billy Fredrick put his team up 1-0 with an RBI double off of an error in left field that scored Jon Granado, who got on with a double.

But the Indians came right back in the second, after Bailey took a walk and Josh Wagner got on thanks to a mishandled pop-up.

Wagner stole second, took third base on a dropped ball and then scored on Luke Persico’s RBI single to left. Two batters later, James Scott was walked in and Persico scored on an errant throw, giving Hart a 3-1 lead.

It was the story of the afternoon for a young Grizzlies’ squad. Its offense put it in good positions several times, but its defense couldn’t maintain.

“Yeah, (Hart) is a good team and they battled well, but I feel like we made a lot of young-guy mistakes,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “The good news is, we didn’t lie down every time we made a mistake. We were battling to the end.”

Junior Tanner Swire gave the Grizzlies a lift with an RBI double in the second that scored Riley Sherwood, who got on with a walk.

But Wagner left Golden Valley trailing 4-2 when he drove the first pitch he saw to the gap in left center and scored Nolan Simons.

Senior Brandon Smith, whose .389 batting average has been a big part of the Grizzlies’ lineup, was held at bay due to several walks, but got on when he was hit by a pitch in the third.

Hart pitcher Garrett Gooding struck out the next two, but walked the next three to return the free-run courtesy Golden Valley had just extended.

Grizzlies’ leadoff hitter Kamran Young’s single got him to second base on a bobbled deep fly to left that scored Riley Sherwood and Joe Garrett, as Golden Valley retook the lead 5-4.

J.T. Barnes led off the fourth with a triple and was brought in on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Dietz to knot the score at 5.

After Valaika scored on an error for the 6-5 lead, Golden Valley’s Josh Smith plated Rocky Sherwood with an RBI single to tie things up once again.

Golden Valley took a 7-6 lead when Garrett’s single allowed Josh Smith to score after a pair of Hart miscues.

With both teams having a rough time in the field, clutch hitting was the only savior for fielding errors. And Hart found a way to put itself ahead.

“It was just really nice just to be able to get a hit for the team, because we really needed it today,” said Bailey. “There’s a few things on offense (we can improve on), but we really just need to pull together on defense.”

But Golden Valley rallied, scoring one run in the sixth and seventh thanks to a couple more Hart errors. However, the rally was cut short by a crucial mistake in the bottom of the seventh.

After pulling within 10-9, a Grizzlies’ pinch runner was caught off of the bag after misreading a relay throw for the game’s final out.

“He just got kind of caught up in the moment and wanted to go home so bad,” Fredrick said. “It’s a learning experience. Every single mistake that we make, we learn something from it.



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