SCL baseball: Analy’s bats come alive late against Piner

By RICHARD MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Piner's Daniel Ito-Lutz slides safely into home after Analy catcher Grant St. Martin can't come up with the the throw Tuesday. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

Piner’s Daniel Ito-Lutz slides safely into home after Analy catcher Grant St. Martin can’t come up with the the throw Tuesday. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

The first half of Tuesday afternoon’s Sonoma County League baseball game wasn’t going well for first-place Analy. Host Piner led 2-0 after three innings and the Prospectors were out-hitting and out-pitching the Tigers.

Then came the game’s final three innings and fortunes flip-flopped in a hurry. Analy (17-4, 9-0) went on a scoring binge, banging in eight runs in the fourth, six runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth. When the dust on the diamond settled from all the Tigers’ rounding the bases, Analy had a 17-5 victory in six innings, as the game was called due to the 10-run rule. With the loss, the Prospectors will likely drop to third place in the SCL.

“We played the first three innings flat,” Analy coach Jeff Ogston said. “But we have had a bunch of comeback wins this season. We feel like we are going to score runs.”

And score runs Analy certainly did.

Pitcher Tony Martignoli started his first game for Piner (16-6, 7-3) and made it through three scoreless innings before Analy (13 hits total) got to him and a succession of Prospectors relief pitchers.

“With runners in scoring position and two outs, we got a lot of big hits today,” Ogston said. “The team stayed in it and didn’t give up. The guys stayed resilient.”

The game-changing top of the fourth inning transformed a 2-0 deficit into an 8-2 lead for Analy. The Tigers started the inning by loading the bases and then scored three runs on a wild pitch and a pair of walks, all in succession. Throw in a bad-hop single to score another run and three more sharply hit RBI singles, and the damage was done. In all, 13 Tigers batters came to the plate in the inning.

“We haven’t had an inning like that all year. We were due for one sooner or later,” Piner coach Nick Green said. “Walks killed us. You can’t win when you walk guys.”

The Prospectors got back three unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth on three consecutive errors by the Tigers infield. Piner’s Brad Snetsinger had the big blow with a bases-clearing triple for three RBIs.

“The errors (in the fourth inning) were disappointing,” Ogston said.

With the game still competitive at 8-5 after four innings, Analy ended any suspense by scoring six runs in the fifth off the Prospectors relief corps. During the rally, the Tigers’ Ricky Thokle-Sample had a bases-loaded double to drive in three runs.

“We knocked out their first pitcher and then it went downhill from there for their pitchers,” said Thokle-Sample (3 for 5 with a double, triple, five RBIs and three runs scored). “We took advantage of it (Piner’s pitching problems) and we stepped it up.”

With the score 14-5, Analy added another three runs in the sixth and the game was called as Piner could not cut into the Tigers’ 12-run lead in the home half of the inning to avoid the early ending.

“Piner is a solid team,” Ogston said. “Today was just a fluke day for them.”

Analy ace starting pitcher Garrett Hill (7-0 coming into the game) threw a one-hit complete game in the teams’ first meeting, a 4-0 Tigers win at Analy. Hill wasn’t as sharp in the rematch and didn’t make it out of fourth inning, preventing him from earning the win. Instead, Tigers reliever Jae Wagner got the win after pitching two scoreless innings.

“It was nice to get some runs against Analy’s starter,” Green said. “Hopefully we get to see them again in the SCL Tournament and we will play them better.”

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