JV no-hits Archie, but loses 1-0

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants lost a heartbreaker of a game Tuesday to the Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons, despite the heroic efforts of Giants’ pitcher Chas Veley, who threw a no-hitter over six innings for the second time this year. The final score was 1-0.

Veley, returning from a two-week hiatus for a back injury, re-emerged stronger than ever,  in a scintillating pitchers’ duel with Archie Williams’s Sam Black. Veley struck out ten batters to Black’s seven, and walked only one to Black’s two.  Both pitchers went the distance, as there was no reason for either coach to make a move.

Both teams played outstanding defense throughout most of the game. In the bottom of the third, Falcon second baseman Jack Evans’s high chopper over Veley’s head looked like it could be trouble, but Giants’ shortstop Sam Sumski charged across the diamond to make the play.

In the top of the fourth, Veley tried to help himself with a single up the middle, but Giants’ second baseman Max Paul’s sharp grounder was expertly handled by Falcon shortstop Luke Winter, who turned it into a 6-4-3 double play. Paul, in response, handled all three chances in the bottom of the fourth, which was the only inning of the first five in which Veley did not strike out at least two Falcons.

Redwood managed more contact than the Falcons on the day, with fewer strikeouts and three singles, but were unable to advance past second base. In contrast, the Falcons never even hit the ball out of the infield, yet somehow managed to push a runner across the plate, in a maddening series of events which one might summarize as “The World’s Most Unearned Run.”

With the game locked in a scoreless tie after 5 ½ innings, Winter, who had been DH’ed for the entire game, arrived at bat for the first time of the day.  Veley delivered a fastball right down the middle of the plate, which was called just high.

Veley, slightly rattled by the call, proceeded to plunk Winter in the back of the helmet on the next pitch. Fortunately, Winter was ok, but the Falcons now had the potential go-ahead run on base.  With the crowd noise rising, Veley responded by picking off Winter, who was frozen so far off of first base that he had no choice but to run towards second, where he looked to be out by a mile.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Giants’ first baseman Jordan Kimball’s throw down to second hit Winter squarely in the back, allowing him into scoring position.  With this development, a small group of Falcon students who had been chanting behind the plate became so obstreperous that they had to be warned by the umpire, and threatened with expulsion from the grounds.

The crowd noise did nothing to improve the Falcons’ hitting against Veley, who bore down and struck out Falcons’ second baseman Jack Evans for out number one, bringing leadoff hitter and Falcon center fielder Max Lefferts to the plate.

Lefferts, who had struck out looking in his first two at-bats, managed a comebacker to Veley. Veley turned and ran at Winter, who had made a break to third, and again looked to be out by a substantial margin. But sadly, Veley’s toss to third baseman Quinn Miller sailed high, tapping off of Miller’s glove and allowing Winter to race around third and score the go-ahead run.  Lefferts took second on the play.

With one out, Falcon third baseman Hudson Lofrano tapped another comebacker to Veley, who this time decided to take the safe route, keeping it himself and tagging Lofrano along the basepath for out number two, while allowing Lefferts to take third.

With Falcon right fielder Jackson Oliver Roa at the plate, Veley uncorked a pitch which got past Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip, prompting Lefferts to break for home. Ip scrambled to recover the ball at the backstop, turning and throwing to Veley, who was racing in to cover the plate. In a dramatically close play, Veley’s tag on Lefferts arrived just in time, retiring the side and preventing another unearned Falcon run.

But the damage had been done. Leading off the top of the seventh, Paul, the only Giant who hit Black well all day, raised a stir with a line drive to center field, but Lefferts was there to make the play.  And after Sumski and Kimball went down swinging, reality sunk in that there were to be no more chances. Redwood had fallen, and now stood 12-7 on the year (7-2 MCAL).

The Giants get another chance at home against the Falcons, when the two teams square off again Thursday at Moody Field. Next week, the Giants travel to Livermore on Monday, before hosting the Spartans of Pinole Valley later in the week.

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