The Redwood JV Baseball Giants snapped back from disappointing losses in their last two games, taking out their frustration on visiting non-league opponent the Pinole Valley Spartans. The Giants rested many regulars for the game, but the fresh faces in today’s lineup gelled together nicely, coming out on top 8-1.
Julian Kempler took the mound for Redwood, and looked like a new man, throwing 70% of his pitches for strikes, and holding the Spartans to just one walk and three hits over five shutout innings. Kempler started off the game nicely, with a 1-2-3 inning.
Redwood got on the board in the bottom of the first, as shortstop Quinn Miller bashed a single on the first pitch he saw from Spartan starter Craig Jensen. Miller promptly stole second, then took third on a wild pitch, before right fielder Wyatt Turkington reached out to poke a single just inside the right field line, scoring Miller.
In the bottom of the third, Miller was back at it, slamming a shot over the center fielder’s head for a leadoff double. First baseman Jordan Kimball walked, while Miller was stealing third base, then immediately stole second himself. Lapic brought the crowd to their feet with a line drive to left which landed just foul, before walking to load the bases.
Turkington lined a pitch, but right at Spartan right fielder Daniel Sheppard, so was unable to advance the runners. But left fielder Drew Song took an outside pitch the other way into left for his second hit of the game, scoring Miller. Catcher Ryan Ip followed with his own single into left, bringing Kimball across, and making it 3-0.
With runners on 1st and 2nd, center fielder Theo Eschliman continued the Giants’ streak of hard contact, smashing a grounder down the third base line. Spartan third baseman Gael Castellanos dived to make a spectacular play, landing with his glove on the bag for out number two, before leaping to his feet and firing across the diamond. The throw would have been in time, but went wild, allowing Eschliman to reach safely, and scoring Song to make it 4-0. Kempler (obviously eager to get back on the mound) then grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Spartan shortstop Junior Malan led off by crushing a ball to center field for a standup double, but was unable to advance. Following a walk and a strikeout, Spartan DH Dennis Rae lined a ball to Giants’ second baseman Elakai Anela, who grabbed it and wheeled to second, doubling off Malan to end the inning.
The Giants didn’t let up in their half of the inning, putting two more runs on the board. Anela led off by taking a fastball in the back, before Miller rapped his third hit of the game. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, before Lapic scored Anela with a long sacrifice fly to left field. Miller scored soon thereafter on another wild pitch, bringing the score to 6-0.
In the top of the fifth, Anela charged a weak grounder by Spartan second baseman Mario Lopez, throwing it away and allowing Lopez to advance to second. This all seemed to be a setup, however, as Spartan center fielder Jaylen Smalls lined another ball to Anela, who snagged it and turned what looked to be an instant replay from the previous inning, doubling off Lopez at second base to retire the side.
Max Paul came in to close out the last two innings, holding the Spartans to one run on two hits. Meanwhile, the Giants still had a few tricks up their collective sleeve, as they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. Lapic led off and was plunked, bringing substitute right fielder Danny Lim to the plate.
Lim hit the ball sharply off the glove of Castellanos, who was now in to pitch. Jensen, now at third base, pounced on the carom, but threw it away at first, allowing Lapic to score, while Lim continued all the way around to third base. Song followed with his third hit of the game, scoring a joyous Lim, who made his way triumphantly into the Giant dugout, the score now 8-1.
Quinn Newlin, who had come in to play center field, followed with a sharp single to left field, making him a perfect two for two on the year. Newlin, who joined the team as a scorekeeper after last playing baseball in third grade, maintained his world-record 1.000 batting average, never having been put out in the last seven years!
Down to their last at-bats, the Spartans managed to load the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, bringing Castellanos to the plate. A palpable gasp of hope arose from the Spartan fans as Castellanos lifted a ball to deep right field. Danny Lim, who hadn’t yet handled a chance in the field this year, took a few steps back, blinked once or twice, then raised up his glove to make the play and end the game.
With the win, the Giants move to 13-8 on the year (7-3 MCAL). They close out their season next week with two games against Tam, hosting the Red-tailed Hawks on Tuesday, before traveling to Mill Valley on Friday for the season finale.