Twin Valley went into Saturday’s game trying to turn the tide against a #2 seed that had outscored them 27-5 in their two regular season matchups, and for the first four innings the Wildcats were able to maintain a 3-0 deficit. But as was often the case this season, one inning would doom Twin Valley, as the Green Wave pounded the Wildcats with a 10-run fifth.
Dal Nesbitt got the start for Twin Valley and pitched an efficient first four innings. The Wildcat defense also played a tight game, committing only two errors, but a lack of production by Twin Valley’s bats would provide Nesbitt with no assistance.
Colin Lozito, Nesbitt, and Jason Moore provided the only three Wildcat hits as MSJ starting pitcher Matt Sanborn shut down the Wildcats with nine strikeouts and no walks in 24 at-bats. Lozito also stole two bags, but Twin Valley would strand five crucial base runners in the first four innings.
In the fifth frame, the Green Wave would put the game out of reach. With one out left in the inning, MSJ started to pour it on as Nesbitt gave up five runs, followed by five from relief pitcher Sam Molner.
The Green Wave and the Wildcats would goose-egg each other in the final two frames, as Twin Valley put in Moore to pitch the last inning of his Wildcat career, in which he walked one and shut down the next three.
Sanborn went 3-3 at the plate for Mount St. Joseph.
Twin Valley coach Jim Burke said that his boys never gave up on the game, a trait he has seen all season from his squad. “Looking back, they learned how not to hang their heads on a bad inning and they learned it early,” said Burke. “They never give up the fight, they stay true to each other. No matter how rough a game was they picked themselves up and worked as a team, because they know it takes a whole team to win a game.
“We gave some games away. We were 6-10, but we easily could have been 10-6. We gave at least four games away with one bad inning.”
Burke is already looking forward to next year, a season in which he said his large cast of seniors will need to control their own destiny. He and coach Derek Cipriano will begin formulating their coaching plan this summer. “To go further in the playoffs we have to go further in the season, and this group will be able to do that if they bring heart to every game and every practice. It was there this season. We need to continue that and step it up another notch.”