Courtesy of Brian Wood:
The Pacific Grove Junior Varsity baseball team faced off against a competitive Palma team on Wednesday (April 4). In possibly the first ever make-up game for a contest that had not yet been postponed (heavy rain in the forecast for the originalFriday scheduled date), PG took the early lead with three runs in the first two innings.
Lead-off batter Jordan Booker started the offense for the Breakers with a two-strike single (one of four two-strike hits for them in the game). Jay McMahon put down a perfect sacrifice bunt advancing Booker to second who later scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the second, Chad Ventimiglia and Nathan Wood led off with back-to-back singles. With runners on the corners, Sean Powell laid down another outstanding sac bunt advancing Wood to second and driving in Ventimiglia. Wood scored on a wild pitch to give PG an early 3-0 lead.
PG starting pitcher Zach Malone pitched three effective innings, striking out three, and allowing two unearned runs. Despite having runners on second and third with one out in each of the first two innings, Malone was able to wiggle his way out of trouble and put up two goose eggs for Palma. He was backed up by some great Breaker defense including an inning ending 6-4-3 double play (SS-Sean Powell, Jr to 2B-Jay McMahon to 1B-Ventimiglia), one of three for PG. In the third, after the two unearned runs, PG extracted themselves from further damage when Catcher Wood threw out a Chieftan runner trying to steal second base, shortstop Powell applying the tag for the final out.
The Breakers put across another run in each of the next two innings. Booker singled to right field and came home on Ventimiglia’s double to left-centerfield in the fourth. Powell singled and scored from second on a Palma error in the fifth.
Reliever Colton Bell shut down Palma in the fourth helped by a Powell to Ventimiglia 6-3 double play. However, Palma was able to tie the game in the fourth and then batted around scoring four runs in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead. However, the Breakers had a nice defensive play that inning. With nobody out and first and second occupied, the lead runner wandered too far off base. Catcher Wood alertly threw a back pick down to second and the PG infield secured the out via a run down while keeping the trailer at first (2-6-5-4, Wood-Powell-Malone-McMahon for those keeping score at home).
PG had baserunners in each of the final three innings, but could not cross home. They came close in the sixth. With the bases loaded (singles by Powell and Courtney and a walk to Booker) Palma (8-2) staved off any runs with a third to home to first inning ending double play. PG’s final inning ending double play of their own happened in the seventh when reliever McMahon (1 1/3 IP, no runs allowed) took a ball hit up the middle, threw to Powell at short, who relayed to Ventimiglia for the final out.
Pacific Grove Varsity (4-7) will attempt to host Palma on Friday (Apr 6) while both Varsity and JV (5-5) play Scotts Valley on Tuesday, April 10 at 4pm (Varsity at home, JV travels to Scotts Valley).