After jumping out to a 9-1 lead, the Scotts Valley High varsity baseball team held off a late rally by rival San Lorenzo Valley High to capture a 9-6 win Tuesday, May 1.
The Falcons, who went into the game with a 1-7 record in league, got their bats going early by scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning, including a two-run single by Matt Snider.
In the second inning, Sean Varenkamp doubled in Bradley Tolaio and Joe Gillette hit a solo home run to right-center to extend Scotts Valley’s lead to 6-1. The Falcons scored three more runs in the third on a combination of walks, hit batters and a single by Gillette to go up 9-1.
“Today, we swung the bats a lot better,” said starting pitcher Brenny Hillan, who tossed five innings, allowing six runs, but only two earned.
Hillan said he was able to locate his fastball and curveball, allowing him success against the potent Cougar lineup.
SLV, now 5-4 in SCCAL play, stormed back in the latter half of the game. In the fourth, Patrick Primeau doubled and scored on a single by Jamie Kinder. Then, in the fifth, Max La Capria doubled and scored on an error to make it 9-3.
Things got interesting in the sixth, when SLV loaded the bases after an infield hit and two walks. Cougar Nick Calabray hit a shallow fly ball to center field that bounced off the glove of sliding outfielder Verenkamp, allowing two runs to score. Then SLV’s Nate Gentry scored from second when a pickoff attempt sailed into center field, making the score 9-6.
Scotts Valley’s Gillette stopped the bleeding when he threw his body in front of a ground ball at third base and threw out Jordan Peabody to end the inning.
The win was a big one for the Falcons who recently called up several junior varsity players to fill out their injury-plagued roster.
“We were coaching them on trying to eliminate the emotions,” said Scotts Valley coach Rick Erlin of the tension in the late-game situation.
San Lorenzo Valley is tied with Harbor High for second place in the SCCAL behind league-leading Aptos.
“Out pitcher didn’t throw strikes at the beginning of the game, and we got down,” said SLV coach Shane Sutcliffe. “We’re a good club, and it shows. We weren’t fazed by the (eight)-run deficit. It’s really cool to know that when you’re down 9-1, that you can come back.”
The Falcons host Harbor at 4 p.m. today, May 4, and San Lorenzo Valley hosts St. Francis at 4 p.m. today.