TV 12 L&G 11
Leading up to Tuesday’s game, Brett Swanson had shared his outfield time with other players, and quietly collected hits throughout the season. But on Tuesday afternoon, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, his team down two runs to the rival Leland & Gray Rebels, sophomore Swanson stepped to the plate and knocked the ball into a gap in the outfield.
But Swanson would need a little help to achieve the walk-off. Cade Nesbitt scored easily coming home from third base to tie the game, but Colin Lozito, a man famous for stealing home plate, would try one last time to stretch a play and rounded third. The throw came in, the tag came down, and Lozito took a wide slide and stuck his arm out to tag home. The game looked like it was headed to extra innings, but the ball squirted out of the Rebels catcher’s glove as he applied the tag, and Twin Valley won a game they had all but let slip away.
“That’s just aggressive play,” said Twin Valley manager Jim Burke. “We could have tied it and maybe sent it to extra innings, but that’s the kind of play you need to win. We took a chance, and we won.”
Swanson’s big hit capped a season-best 3 for 4 effort, which included an RBI, while Lozito’s final run was his third of the day.
Twin Valley started the game strong, scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning, with Dal Nesbitt and Chris Robinson each knocking home two RBIs. In the fourth inning, Nesbitt knocked home two more for an 8-3 lead, but the Rebels found their second wind in the dramatic seventh. Closer Cade Nesbitt had the Rebels pegged with two outs in his first five pitches. But the Rebels’ bats came alive at the last possible moment, and after five hits and a hit batter, Nesbitt came out, and Kyle Murdock, who started the game for the Wildcats, came back in. Going into the bottom of the seventh, the ‘Cats were down 11-9 having given up six runs in the inning. All they could do is fight, and that is exactly what they did.
Craig Green hit an RBI single to begin the seventh inning rally, only to be thrown out at home as he attempted to tie the game a batter later. With two outs and the bases loaded, Swanson, Cade Nesbitt, and Lozito combined for their big, game-winning play.
Kyle Murdock got the win for the ‘Cats, striking out four in 6 1/3 innings. Relief pitcher Corey Nystrom took the loss for the Rebels. Ryan Borgeson led the Rebels batting order with a 2 for 2, two-run effort.
Woodstock 8 TV 3
In a game split between two rainy days, the Wildcats could find no traction on their home field, taking their sixth loss of the year, falling to Woodstock 8-3.
The game began last Friday, and Twin Valley found themselves down 5-1 before Mother Nature stopped the game. Continuing play on Wednesday, Sam Molner came in to relieve Dal Nesbitt in the third inning, but fared no better, as the ‘Cats let two more in for a 7-1 deficit. Nesbitt and Molner would both score runs in the third inning to bring the lead down to four, but the Wildcats were held there, and couldn’t manage any more productive offense.
Chris Robinson, who has found his swing in the second half of the season, led the ‘Cats with a 2 for 3 showing, along with Nesbitt, who added two RBIs.
Doug Avillino took the win for Woodstock, while Nesbitt took the loss.
Twin Valley sits at 9-6, and with their last regular season game scheduled for Friday at 4:30, their coaching staff is looking to improve on bad habits as well as their own communication. “Everyone has to step up their game,” said manager Jim Burke. “We need to improve the bats a little more for the playoffs, stop looking at first pitch strikes, and there can be no second guessing on every play. As a team we have to say ‘We’re kicking it up a notch,’ and that needs to be the psyche of every player. We’re good, but in single elimination playoffs, you have to be the best.”