By Nate Graham
For The Signal
Most of the time in baseball, when you have as many hits as you do errors it is not a winning formula. The Golden Valley Grizzlies proved that theory right as they lost on the road to the West Ranch Wildcats 10-0.
The errors cost the Grizzlies (6-11 overall, 1-9 in Foothill League) on the defensive side of the ball, but a stellar three-hit complete game shutout from senior righty Cade Nicol left the Grizzlies feeling helpless on the offensive side.
“I thought Cade was excellent from the start all the way to the finish,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “I thought he had some good stuff at the end of the game and I thought his fastball was as good at the end of the game as it was at the beginning.”
The box score shows that Burrill was spot on, as Nicol allowed one of his three hits to the first batter of the game. In the final six innings he allowed the last two of those hits while getting all six of his strikeouts from the third inning on.
“My teammates gave me that energy throughout the game,” said Nicol. “As runs were getting put up it gave me more momentum and more energy. With that I just kept going out there stronger and I knew I needed to keep putting up zeros for the team.”
Most of that energy was gained in the bottom half of the third when it all started to fall apart for Golden Valley. Already down 1-0, starting pitcher Bryson James walked the first batter of the inning and threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt allowing the runner to advance to third.
A hit batter and an error by the Grizzlies first baseman scored the runner from third and put the Wildcats (14-4, 8-2) on first and second with nobody out. A blooper down the left field line by senior Jovan Camacho scored the runner from second making it 3-0 West Ranch with runners on second and third.
A sacrifice fly from senior Ryan Ilan scored the runner from third and advanced the man on second to third. A third and final error for the Grizzlies allowed Camacho to come around and score making it 5-0.
It was a lot of small ball play from the Wildcats as six of their ten runs were scored on sacrifice flies, but Burrill certainly doesn’t mind it that way.
“A lot of mistakes generated runs for us, but we still had to produce on the back end offensively,” said Burrill. “We did a lot of good things with some small ball, moving runners and sacrifice flies, all those different things to put up those numbers.”
West Ranch has now won nine of its last 10 games and will look to stay hot as they travel to the desert for the National Classic Tourney in Horizon, Arizona. The Wildcats’ first league matchup after the break will be on April 12 against Hart at home.
Meanwhile, Golden Valley will look to get back on track as they play a slew of out-of-league matchups against Laguna Hills, Loara, Paraclete and Grace Brethren. When Foothill action returns they will go up against Canyon on April 12 at home.