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May 27, 2009 > Irvington bounced in NCS opening round

Irvington bounced in NCS opening round

By Jason Barrera

After a game that spanned over two days (Tuesday, May 19, and Wednesday, May 20) and 11 innings, #10 Deer Valley was able to execute a suicide squeeze play to upset #7 Irvington in the North Coast Section (NCS) Division I baseball tournament, 5-4, and advance to the second round.

Deer Valley Wolverines right fielder Samuel Martinez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the top half of the 11th when he got the sign to lay down a bunt.

"Coach told me that he hasn't put a suicide squeeze play on in 13 years," said Martinez. But Wolverines Head Coach Dennis Luquet had the confidence Martinez could get the job done.

"I figured you know what, he's a good bunter," said Luquet. "Let's go for it. It was a great bunt."

Martinez's bunt was laid down perfectly along the first-base line. In an attempt to grab the ball and toss it to the plate for a force out, Irvington pitcher Sean Yoshikawa and first baseman Trevor Ramos collided, allowing Tyler Niemeyer - who doubled leading off the inning - to score from third, giving Deer Valley the 5-4 lead they would not relinquish.

Irvington went down quietly in the bottom of the 11th, ending their 2009 season with an overall record of 19-7. Deer Valley improved to 19-6 with the win.

After one full frame it looked as though the host Vikings were going to dominate the contest when starting pitcher Ryan Tella hung a zero in the top half of the inning and the Irvington offense jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage.

Wolverine starting pitcher Austin Wiggins struggled with his command early. With the bases loaded and no outs, Wiggins induced a double play ground ball, which scored Matt Silvernale for the game's first run; T.J. Meyer lined an RBI single two batters later; and, with the bases loaded again, Nick Marino smacked an RBI single into left field for Irvington's third score.

Deer Valley battled right back in the top half of the second. With two outs, Nicholas Gavello, Marquis Cox and Timmy Maldonado hit three consecutive singles to slice the Irvington advantage to 3-2.

After Deer Valley scratched a run on the board in the top of the fourth to tie the contest, Irvington was able to load the bases in the bottom half of the fourth with two outs for their cleanup hitter Ramos.

Ramos launched a majestic fly ball to deep left field, however Wolverines left fielder Cox made a spectacular high back hand grab to end the inning and rob Ramos of 3 RBIs and certain extra bases.

"I thought the key to the game was the kid who took the grand slam away from Ramos," Irvington Head Coach Larry Harrington said.

Irvington's senior lefty Tella matched Wiggins (7 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 5 BB, 7 K) pitch for pitch and concluded his outing yielding four runs on eight hits over six and a third, while walking five and striking out three.

"He hasn't pitched in 10 days, and before that it was two weeks," Harrington said. "I thought his breaking ball command was not there today."

"Oh man, I felt rusty, first three or four innings were rusty," Tella said. "I pitched three times with a two-week layoff."

With Irvington holding onto a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh, Tella retired the leadoff batter but followed by walking pinch hitter Joshua Garcia.

"He was on a hitter-to-hitter basis," said Harrington. "He was right at 100 pitches, and whoever the next guy was, battled him."

Yoshikawa replaced Tella on the mound and proceeded to give up the tying run on a sacrifice fly to Wiggins, sending the game into extras, tied at 4.

After a scoreless eighth, the game was suspended and picked up in the ninth the next day, Wednesday, May 20.

Deer Valley reliever Joshua Eagle averted elimination for the Wolverines, pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the Viking tenth. Silvernale stood on third with one out, prompting Luquet to issue intentional passes to Tella and Ramos, loading the bases.

With one out and the Deer Valley infield in, Christian Webber smashed a sharp grounder right at second baseman Justin Meier who forced out Silvernale at home. Eagle averted elimination by inducing another groundout to Meier.

"My old coach used to say when it looks like you're going to lose, that's the game you win," Coach Luquet said, "When they hit the grounder to the second baseman, that turned the game around in our favor, when we were able to get out of that."

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