Twin Valley baseball squad salvages rough week with a win at home
by Jack Deming
May 23, 2013 | 1664 views | 0 0 comments | 243 243 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Twin Valley’s Dylan Johnson delivers a pitch to home while a Green Mountain baserunner leads off second base.
Twin Valley’s Dylan Johnson delivers a pitch to home while a Green Mountain baserunner leads off second base.
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DEERFIELD VALLEY- The Wildcats spent the weekend away from home, traveling to Leland & Gray and Mt. Everett, trying to turn their season around after two more losses last week left the team under .500 at the midpoint of the season. But Twin Valley would find no relief on the road, getting blown out in a one-hit bid by Drew Barnum in Townshend, and unable to finish a late-game rally against the Mt. Everett Eagles. Coming back home, the Wildcats got blownout once again, but finished the week off by snapping their five-game skid with a convincing late-game win against Arlington.

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Drew Barnum silenced the Wildcats with a complete game one-hitter, striking out 13, while Zach Wilkens and Ryan Borgesson combined for seven runs as the Rebels steamrolled the Wildcats on Friday.

When the Rebels visited Wilmington on May 11, the Wildcat coaching staff saw what they liked out of junior Dal Nesbitt in his first start. He went all seven innings, allowing only eight hits in a tough 4-3 loss. Friday’s bout began the same, with Nesbitt allowing only two runs in the first three innings. But while the Wildcat bats stayed silent, unable to back up Nesbitt’s work on the mound, the Rebel bats exploded with an 11-hit seven-run fourth inning.

“We allowed very few errors,” said Coach Jim Burke. “Dal wasn’t walking batters either, they (the Rebels) were just hitting the ball, plain and simple.”

While Craig Green got the lone hit for Twin Valley, Barnum added a 3-4 night at the plate, and the Rebels scored four more runs off relief pitcher Dylan Johnson over the next three innings.

“To our players’ credit, they kept their heads up,” said Burke. “We’ll take the loss, but they continue to fight to the last pitch.”

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Hoping to shake off the previous night’s loss with a long journey to Mt. Everett in Sheffield, MA, the Wildcats fought another uphill battle in search of a win, something that’s proven elusive over the past two weeks. They would not find it in the Bay State, however, digging an early hole, too deep to overcome.

With his best start of the season, Jason Moore pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up only six hits, striking out five, and walking four. But the Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead that held solid over the first two innings, adding four more runs in the third by capitalizing on throwing errors by the Wildcats.

Sage Angell struck out six batters in his five innings on the mound for the Eagles, while the Wildcats stranded eight batters on the bags. Colin Lozito struck with two of the Wildcats three hits and added a team-high six stolen bases en route to scoring two runs. Dal Nesbitt added three stolen bases, as well as the Wildcats’ third hit and third run.

The Wildcats tried to claw their way back after a two-run fifth inning, but their rally came up short as Zach Fife’s two-inning relief effort kept the Wildcats quiet.

“It was a game filled with close calls,” said Burke “I’d like to see us turn the season around and I think we can do it with hard work. We have to get out of the batting slump and just put it into play. The kids played a tough game all the way to the end, and I see this as a good step in the right direction.”

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The Wildcats began their Tuesday home game looking sharp, as two quick outs by pitcher Kyle Murdock made it seem as though Twin Valley would stay hot. But a single, followed by a slow roller that started foul and rolled fair, started a Green Mountain two-out rally and the Wildcats found themselves behind 4-0.

Twin Valley’s bats started cold and stayed cold as the first two innings provided no hits and no base runners. Second baseman Baylee Crawford would knock the first of Twin Valley’s four hits to center field in the third, but once again nothing would come of it in the box score.

Brady Stewart threw a stellar match for the Chieftains, allowing no walks and striking out eight of Twin Valley’s 29 batters over seven innings. Moore provided Twin Valley’s most consistent bat, going 2-3 with an RBI and two runs.

In the fourth inning, the game went from bad to much worse for the Wildcats, as the Indians piled on six more runs, including two on a ground rule double, and two more on a fielding error by third baseman Dylan Johnson.

Cade and Dal Nesbitt each scored a run in the fifth to bring the deficit to eight, and Dylan Johnson stepped in with two outs in the fifth to relief pitch and left three Green Mountain base runners stranded after hitting two with pitches.

The Chieftains put one more on the scoreboard in the sixth, and Moore hit what looked like a home run for the Wildcats, but the home plate umpire called Moore’s blast foul, denying a two-run homer. Twin Valley would end up adding two more, but in the seventh inning three Wildcats struck out in a row and no rally could be staged.

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Twin Valley needed to end the week with a win. A 4-7 record had left their season in jeopardy, but not even a flash thunderstorm could stop them from playing the game coach Jim Burke knew they could play.

Dal Nesbitt threw a solid game on the mound, and never lost his cool even through a midgame rally by the Eagles that allowed Arlington to take the lead.

It didn’t begin ideally for Nesbitt, who threw 34 pitches in the first inning, and runs by John Esposito and Kyle Tamburo put the Eagles in command early. The Wildcats began chipping away immediately, as Jason Moore scored Colin Lozito and cut the lead in half.

Lozito would score again in the second inning off a Nesbitt single, but the inning would end prematurely when Nesbitt tried to make it home on a throw-out attempt. Twin Valley would take the lead in the third when Cade Nesbitt hit an RBI single to score Moore.

The Eagles would take the game back in the fifth inning with aggressive base running and two hits, one a drive to center and one just to the right of third base, to score two runs and give Arlington a 4-3 lead.

But Moore used some aggressive base running of his own to steal second and third base after taking a pitch to his back. Two straight walks by relief pitcher Alex Trayah scored Moore and Dylan Johnson for a 5-4 Wildcat lead. Craig Green and Cade Nesbitt would also score on a walk and a wild pitch bringing the score to 7-4.

In the sixth inning the Eagles would not go away, scoring two more to cut the lead to one. But Lozito turned a textbook double play from short to Baylee Crawford at second who flipped it to Moore at first to preserve the lead.

Moore continued his dominant play in the sixth with an RBI double, scoring a run himself, followed by a Dal Nesbitt run for a 10-6 lead.

Dal Nesbitt added a strikeout in the seventh, one of three on the afternoon. Nesbitt faced 35 batters and gave up eight hits and eight walks as well.

Moore and Green each finished with three runs, and Sam Molner went 2-2 with a run.

“They know right now we’re playing the next three to be over .500,” said Burke. “That would roll us into the playoffs on a high note with confidence, but first we have to keep pushing.”

The Wildcats are 5-7 and host Mt. St. Joseph on Friday at 4:30 pm.
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