After the Pirates rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie it up in their half of the sixth, Wolverines senior outfielder Nicholas Gavello legged out a triple to right center field in the team’s first at-bat of the inning. Next, senior first baseman Patrick McKnight drove Gavello home with a single, giving Deer Valley a lead it would not relinquish.
The Wolverines scored three more times before junior southpaw reliever Marcos Martinez shut the door with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Gavello finished 3-for-3; McKnight went 2-for-2 with an RBI and three runs scored.
“I knew we’d get (the lead) back,” said junior starting pitcher Ricky Delgado, who was issued a no-decision. “Everything could happen, but I never doubted them. They’re my team.”
It was an important win for Deer Valley (13-8, 6-1 Bay Valley Athletic League), which is chasing defending league champion Heritage. As of Wednesday, the Patriots were still undefeated in BVAL play. The two teams face off on Tuesday, on Heritage’s diamond, with the league title likely at stake. The Patriots claimed the first round, a 2-1 victory on April 28.
“In the beginning, we kind of fluttered and didn’t come to play every day,” McKnight said. “I feel like we’re back on track to our winning ways.”
McKnight’s team drew first blood in the second inning as he scored on an error. Another error in the next at-bat made it a 2-0 game. In the fourth inning, McKnight found home plate again, this time on a fielder’s choice.
Under the direction of first-year manager Bob Orr, Pittsburg (9-11, 2-5 BVAL) looked fairly competitive on Tuesday. Despite the 3-0 lead Deer Valley built up, the Pirates seemed within striking distance most of the game. Pittsburg scored its first run in the fifth inning on an error.
In the sixth inning, senior outfielder Riley Cox led off with a walk. The Wolverines then replaced junior starting pitcher Ricky Delgado with Martinez, who gave up an RBI double to junior infielder Lorenzo Sandoval. Two batters later, junior outfielder Malik Watson, who finished 2-for-3, blasted a ground-rule double to make it a 3-3 game.
However, Pittsburg senior starting pitcher Nick Valle, who did well for most of the game, was unable to hold off Deer Valley in the bottom of the sixth.
“We have to make the plays,” Orr said. “I felt like we were hitting the ball hard. We just left runners on base.”