Redwood JV hands Livermore Pokes their first loss of the year – 12-2

Redwood’s JV Baseball Giants racked up yet another impressive win on Thursday afternoon, thumping the visiting Livermore Pokes 12-2 over five innings. Livermore came into the contest undefeated at 6-0, never having scored fewer than six runs in a game on the season so far.

Starting pitcher Chas Veley allowed just one hit over four innings, relying on a stout, error-free Redwood defense to hold the Pokes scoreless. Six Redwood batters combined for eight hits on the day, as the Giants also took advantage of four Livermore errors.

The Pokes made some noise in the top of the first. Center fielder Blake Bystrom powered a ball into the gap in right center, only to see Giants’ right fielder Cole Engstrom dash onto the scene for a fine running catch. After a walk to shortstop Andrew Navarro, Pokes’ first baseman Dominic Shepherd sizzled a shot down to first base, kicking off of Giants’ first baseman Jordan Kimball’s glove, and rolling towards opportunistic second baseman Max Paul, who gathered it up and tossed back to Kimball for the second out of the inning. 

Navarro advanced to second base on the play, but was promptly picked off on a spin move by Veley, and remained on the ground for an extra few seconds after the tag, seemingly disconsolate, with his outstretched hand resting on the ground a good nine inches short of the bag.

Redwood wasted no time getting things started in their half of the first. Leadoff hitter Jack Corvi sent a pitch from Livermore southpaw Nicolai Mirra high into center field, where Bystrom whiffed on the catch, putting Corvi on base.  Corvi, as he tends to do, immediately stole second.

Giants’ second baseman Max Paul tapped a dying chopper up the first base line, running right past Shepherd, who had come in to attempt the play, and setting up runners at first and third with no out. Third baseman Harrison Lapic followed with a rocket up the middle which sent Mirra diving for his life, and scoring Corvi to put Redwood on the board.

After a dribbler to third by Veley advanced the runners to second and third, left fielder Gavin Soper smacked a single to right over Shepherd’s head, scoring both Paul and Lapic, and making the score 3-0.

Redwood continued hitting the ball hard in the inning.  After Soper stole second, Second baseman Sam Sumski scorched a liner to Navarro’s glove side. Navarro snagged the ball and chased Soper back to second, making it two outs, and bringing catcher Kyle Brooks to the plate.

Brooks, called up from the Freshman team on the day  to replace the injured Ryan Ip, watched Soper steal third, then smacked a ball off of Pokes’ third baseman Braden McRae’s glove, which looked certain to score Soper.  Unfortunately for the Giants, though, the stealthy Navarro had moved over and was able to pounce on the ricochet, throwing Brooks out by half a step, and retiring the side.

In the top of the second, a hit batsman and a walk led to runners on first and second with one out.  McRae ripped Veley’s offering on the ground to third, but Lapic made it look easy, stepping on third for the force, and firing across the diamond for the 5-3 double play to end the inning.

Redwood caught a few breaks to add two more runs in the bottom of the second. Kimball singled to centered, but then looked to be out stealing second, as he ran into the tag instead of sliding under it; the umpire called him safe anyway. Engstrom’s sinking liner was robbed by left fielder Will Fuller’s diving shoestring catch, but Fuller must have been shaken up on the play, as the next batter Jack Corvi lofted a much easier ball out to left center, which Fuller sized up, and let clank off of his glove for an E-7, scoring Kimball to make it 4-0. It was Corvi’s second routine fly ball off of a fielders glove in two appearances on the day.

With Corvi on second, Paul walked, and then the two of them took turns stealing bases to bring up Lapic with men on second and third and one out. Lapic’s sharp grounder to Navarro was enough to score Corvi, making it 5-0.

Redwood added four more in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a bases-loaded single into left field by Kimball, scoring two and bringing the score to 7-0. Engstrom and Paul also batted in runs in the inning.

With the score still 9-0 heading into the fifth, Redwood brought in Wyatt Turkington to pitch.  They hoped to stop the Pokes quickly, and follow with another run to bring the score to 10-0, which would invoke the ‘mercy rule’ and end the game.

However, the Giants were forced to wait a hot minute, as Turkington plunked his first batter in the back of the helmet (fortunately not hurt), then mixing a strikeout with a single and firing a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with one out. Livermore right fielder Grant Scharnhorst then drove a ball deep into the left field corner, scoring the runners and rolling into second base with a stand-up double, making the score 9-2.

Fortunately, Turkington recovered, snagging a comeback line drive, and nearly doubling up Scharnhorst at second for out number two.  The Pokes’ best hitter Navarro then worked Turkington to a full count, fouling off three more pitches before smashing a grounder to third, which Lapic handled deftly, with a strong throw to retire the side.

The Giants were able to put the game away in their half of the fifth, as Scharnhorst came in to pitch for Livermore, and walked his first four batters to make the score 10-2. After Sumski slapped a single up the middle to score Elakai Anela and make it 11-2, young Danny Lim came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.

Lim’s chopper to first was handled by Shepherd, who applied the tag, but meanwhile, Lapic was scoring the Giants’ 12th run, which triggered the ‘Mercy Rule,’ with Lim credited with the game-winning RBI.

The Giants, now 7-3 on the year (3-0 MCAL), are riding a 6-game winning streak, during which time they have outscored their opponents 63-4. Redwood returns tomorrow to host the young Terra Linda squad they blew out on Tuesday, before starting a home and away series with the San Rafael HS Bulldogs next week.

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