By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Big Game took on a whole new meaning Tuesday for the Vintage and Napa High baseball teams with a playoff spot on the line for both parties. In the end though it was Napa who clinched their spot in the playoffs with a 10-3 win over their rivals.
“I don’t math really well, but I think so, yeah from all the scenarios that we were kinda looking at this should put us in,” Napa coach Todd Pridy said of making the playoffs.
The visiting Crushers’ (11-13 overall, 6-8 Monticello Empire League) scored the game’s first run in the top of the third. Cole Ridling tripled and scored on a Max Phipps double.
Napa (15-11, 9-5 MEL) got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. After Charles Gravett singled he scored when Trent Maher grounded into a fielder’s choice and Vintage shortstop Felix Ortiz made a throwing error.
Vintage took the lead again in the top of the fifth. Jason Brandow singled and later scored when Eli Wood singled.
The game took a massive swing in the Indians favor when they scored eight runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth. There was also four walks two costly errors made by the Crushers.
Vintage coach Rich Anderson says that happened because his team is only good for four innings of solid ball a game.
“We’re a four inning team, it’s plain and simple,” he said. “You saw it all in a snapshot right there. Eli competes, I mean obviously it all fell apart in that inning, but we compete, we’re in a game, and then we tend to make some type of critical error. Whether it’s a physical or mental error and then we just can’t recover from it. We had one little span where we did, but essentially aside from that five-game winning streak this is just a total microcosm of our whole season. That’s exactly what we do we come out and compete and then we just can’t put a full game together.”
According to Pridy his team benefited from the walks and errors since his team did nothing different going up to bat that inning.
“We were hitting him (Wood) a little bit, but we were the benefactors of some walks and some balls that got a little off course. Eli’s a heck of a pitcher,” Pridy explained. “It was kind of a mix, I certainly wouldn’t say we hit the ball around that inning, but we were in the right place at the right time and able to take advantage of some stuff and we were able to put together a big and very important inning.”
Vintage scored its final run of the day in the seventh. Phipps walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Brandow double.
It wasn’t quite the Andrew Raymond of the April 5th Big Game, but it was still a very solid outing from Raymond as he got the win. He struck out seven and had two walks in 100 total pitches.
“He is always most effective when he can find that change up to compliment his fastball and curveball,” Pridy said of his senior starter. “And he was able to do that in some big spots. He worked hard, he really did and I’m proud of the effort and you know we were fortunate to get some runs, squeaked out a few on our own, got a little help with some others, but what an effort. I’m proud of him.”
“He was great though. (He was) poised, composed, just throws strikes, doesn’t get flustered, and just for a big guy it just looks like he’s working easy. It was easy for him,” Anderson said of Raymond’s outing.
Wood took the loss for Vintage. Over 91 pitches he went 4 and ⅔ innings walking seven and striking out four.
The two teams meet again today at 4 p.m. at Cleve Borman Field in Yountville.