Shasta’s Isaiah Pena put the tag down too late on Enterprise’s JT Christian. The Wolves, however, would sweep the Eastern Athletic League series, winning 3-1 on Monday and then finishing a 10-9, nine-inning win Thursday of a game started Monday and postponed because of darkness. Shasta would win the final 5-4, again in nine innings. (Photo by Aaron Williams / Shasta County Sports)
Shasta swept the ninth inning , the day and the series on Thursday, taking a bizarre three-game set over Enterprise that saw two games go extra frames, including one that was played on two different days and two different sites.
After the Wolves got a series-opening 3-1 win on Monday afternoon at Shasta, the cross-town rivals played the nightcap to a 9-all tie through eight innings before darkness descended on the DeForest Field and forced the completion of the game later in the week before the series’ third and final game. The Wolves would come away with a 10-9 win in nine innings and then finish the sweep with a 5-4 win, again in nine innings in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week.
“In 20 years, that’s never happened to me. Extra inning games in my career have been extremely limited,” Shasta coach Travis Bassham said.
The second game picked up Thursday afternoon (a day before it was regularly scheduled in order to beat wet weather forecast for Friday) at Enterprise’s field with the schools knotted at nine after eight full. Monday’s game had seen the visiting Hornets take a 9-7 lead in the top of the seventh on a Cameron Balding’s safety squeeze that plated Justin Kelly. In the bottom of the seventh, the Wolves scored a pair of runs on an RBI single from DJ Bish and Logan Thibodeau. Bish’s single scored JT Beasley, while Thibodeau hit a shot to the left-center gap. Bish rounded third and slowed up before touching home as Thibodeau looked to stretch his hit into a double. He was thrown out at second as Bish approached home, ruled to have scored by the home plate umpire.
After a scoreless eighth, the game was postponed, where it was picked up at the Hornets’ field. Shasta’s Simon Turner, on in relief of Kevin Braemer, Jordan Chabolla and Monday’s starter Jordan Viera, got Bricen Trent to ground out to short to end the Enterprise ninth.
Shasta would then plated the winner in the bottom of the frame on Rollin Luntey’s walk-off walk that scored Isaiah Pena and assured the Wolves (5-0-1, 3-0 Eastern Athletic League) of a series victory of their rivals.
The series finale saw the Hornets (4-6, 03 EAL) switch from black to white uniforms and took the field behind starter Hayden Wagner, who allowed two first-inning runs to the Wolves on RBI singles by Bish and Pena that scored Beasley and Turner.
But the Hornets got the equalizer in the bottom of the first off Turner. Keanu Mizuta led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored on Kelly’s RBI single after a Cameron Schnetzer walk. The Enterprise catcher moved to third after a Thibodeau’s throw to cut down the stealing Schnetzer was dropped by Shasta third baseman Pena. Schnetzer scored two pitches later on a wild pitch.
Enterprise would double up the score in the bottom of the second as Wyatt Rivera reached with a lead-off single and scored on a Pena error. Meanwhile, Sam Triantafyllou reached on a single two batters later, moved to second on a balk and scored on Schnetzer’s seeing-eye RBI single that just sailed over the outstretched glove of Beasley, the Wolves’ shortstop for a 4-2 Enterprise lead.
“It was unique finishing one that was so emotional and then having to regroup and start another one,” Bassham said. “That pushed us into a lull, I think. They were outplaying us, out-hustling us in those innings. They didn’t die at all.”
Chabolla relieved Turner with two outs in the bottom of the second and struck out Balding to end the threat. Wagner and Chabolla settled in and mowed through the middle innings before the Wolves threatened in the sixth against Kelly, who relieved Wagner to start the frame.
Pena lined a double down the right-field line and moved to third on Thibodeau’s sacrifice before Chabolla helped his own cause with an RBI single to right. The Wolves got another run in the top of the seventh as Rollin Luntey led off the inning with a single back up the box. Braemer bunted him over to second and Turner came through with a two-out, two-strike RBI single to left-center to knot the game at 4.
But the Hornets still had the bottom of the seventh and worked the bases loaded before Chabolla was able to wiggle out of the jam. JT Christian drew a one-out walk and stole second before Rivera struck out on a dropped third strike. Christian took a delayed steal from second, allowing Rivera to reach as Thibodeau, the Wolves’ catcher, didn’t throw down to put out Rivera. Trent walked to load the bases, bringing up the top of the lineup with one out and the winning run on second. But Chabolla got Mizuta to strikeout looking and Triantafyllou to go down swinging to send the game to bonus baseball.
“I thought about starting Jordan, but Simon was rolling (in the second-game’s completion),” Bassham said. “(Chabolla) came in and utilized his off-speed pitch well. He flat-out competed and didn’t want to lose today.”
In the top of the ninth, Luntey led off with a check-swing infield single to the left side. Braemer again moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Beasley, the leadoff batter, singled to shallow right, moving Luntey to third. Bish scored the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze down the third-base line.
“Lucky for us we got some timely hitting and our pitching staff kept it together,” Bassham said.
Logan Kirk came in and worked out of a jam in the ninth to secure the sweep for the Wolves. After fanning Balding to start the inning, Christian walked before Rivera attempted to advance him with a sacrifice bunt. Kirk picked up the bunt and tried to get the lead run at second, but the throw was late and off target, allowing both runners an extra 90 feet as the ball squirted into center.
Trent struck out, however, trying to bunt with two strikes and Kirk got Mizuta, the leadoff hitter, to fly out to deep center as Bish tracked the ball down about 25 feet in front of the fence.
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