NCS Div. 3 Baseball: Dragons on wrong side of perfect game, lose 1-0

By MATT MORRISON
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A frustrating day for Sonoma Valley hitters was made worse because there won’t be a chance to bounce back. The Dragons’ season ended on the wrong side of a perfect game at Acalanes Ken Souza Field in Lafayette.

Dons senior left-hander Johnny York set down all 21 Sonoma Valley batters he faced, striking out 16, as the Dragons were eliminated 1-0 in the NCS Division 3 semifinals.

Sonoma Valley coach Don Lyons might have been more frustrated to see the season end this way than his players were in the batter’s box.

“It’s our third year in a row, finishing in the semis. So we’re getting a little tired of it. We just didn’t swing very well,” he said. “Please, don’t get me wrong, the kid deserves all the credit in the world, I just wish we had a little more patience at the plate. We were swinging at pitches out of the zone.”

But a dominant pitching performance was still a close game with the Dragons very much alive until the final out. Sonoma Valley righty Jimmy Flatt gave up the only run of the day in the top of the third inning. Acalanes second baseman Austin Fisher led off with a single and was sacrificed in to scoring position. Dragons first baseman Jonah Son made a nice backhand play on a sharp grounder toward right field and flipped to Flatt for the second out with Fisher advancing to third. Tyler Supple’s two-out grounder drove in the game’s lone run, which just skipped over the glove of shortstop Dan Deely and in to left field for an RBI single.

York wasn’t overpoweringwith a fastball topping out at 83 miles per hour, but had pinpoint control that kept the Dragons guessing all afternoon. At least two Sonoma Valley hitters fanned in every inning with York striking out the side in the fourth and the sixth.

“Generally I do throw a lot of strikes, very few walks. But today I had command with all my pitches. Usually it’s just one or two. Today it was all four.”

The Dragons managed to put only five balls in play. The closest they came to a hit was a slicing foul ball to right field by CJ Vitale in the sixth, and a high chopper to short by Vince Albano in the seventh that he just missed beating out by half a step.

Flatt was more gutsy than great in tossing a six-inning complete game and relied on his defense to get out of jams. The Dragons turned four double plays as Flatt scattered seven hits and struck out two.

“When they pushed us we pushed back really well. We did a really good job,” said Lyon. “It was a clean run that they got, so you’ve got to get a run to win anyway and when they scored it, we knew, well, we’ve got to get one ourselves and it just didn’t happen.”

Sonoma Valley finishes the season with a 19-10 record.

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