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Wheatland Sun

Huskies Drop NSCIF Rematch, Punish Rams in Blowout

Apr 20, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

Sutter sophomore pitcher Jonny Munger (17) throws a pitch in the Huskies 7-5 defeat versus Gridley on Tuesday, April 11.

Huskies Drop NSCIF Rematch, Punish Rams in Blowout [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

SUTTER, CA (MPG) - The Gridley Bulldogs avenged their 2022 Northern Section California Interscholastic Federation Division III finals loss as they beat the Sutter Huskies in a 7-5 extra inning thriller on Tuesday, April 11.

With Sutter departing the Northern Section for the Sac-Joaquin Section, this is the only time the former Butte View League rivals will see one another. The intensity of the game was felt through each dugout and transferred onto the field where every play had some impact on the game.

Gridley (8-0) head coach Javier Solis said his team was consistent with their efforts. “Our starting pitching has been flawless throughout the season,” Solis said.

The pitching matchup between two solid sophomores, Bulldogs Garrett Francis, and the Huskies, Jonny Munger, tossed a duel. Munger threw five innings where he gave up four hits, two runs and struck out seven.

Francis tossed four innings and surrendered four hits, five runs, and had four strikeouts. Francis said his curveball and changeup were able to keep the Sutter hitters off-balanced.

Gridley senior first baseman Chris Alejo put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard first in the first inning with a two-run batted-in double to right field. The Gridley lead was short lived as Huskies senior outfielder Matt Lorentz hit a game-tying sacrifice fly to score sophomore first baseman, Brady Wickum, in the second inning. Wickum had a big day at the plate, going three-for-four with a double and an RBI.

Sutter (10-4) took the lead in the bottom of the third inning as the hot bat of senior outfielder Matthew McCall belted a hard single to left field to score fellow senior catcher Landon Sable.

McCall and Sable were named Co-MVP’s of the San Diego Lions Tournament where they each had three multi-hit games from April 3-6.“I’m trying to attack the fast ball and not get too deep in the count,” McCall said.

Huskies head coach Stewart Peterson expressed that his hitters have been heading into the box with good approaches and it’s shown in their box scores.“They stay within themselves and look for pitches they can hit hard throughout the whole field,” Peterson exclaimed.

McCall had another multi-hit game as he finished two-for-four with an RBI. Wickum added an RBI double that extended the Sutter lead 4-2 after three innings.

The Bulldogs creeped back in the sixth inning as junior shortstop, Adrian Santillan, reached second base after he bunted a ball back to Sutter junior relief pitcher, Kasey Combo. Combo threw the ball away at first base, allowing Santillan to reach second and cut the Huskies lead to 5-3 after a run scored.

Gridley junior catcher Bryant McWilliams added another run as he grounded out to second base to bring the deficit to one.

With two outs and Santillan on third base, Solis had Santillan attempt to steal home and tie the game. Combo kept calm under pressure and stepped off the mound to throw the ball to Sable for an easy out at the plate. Solis believed it was worth the risk.

With the Bulldogs in a tight game, Solis went to his bullpen in the fifth inning and relied on his main relief pitcher, junior Emmet Smallwood. Smallwood would shut the door on the Sutter bats as he pitched four innings of shutout ball, giving up one hit and striking out six.

Smallwood shared that he gets a boost of confidence as he comes into the games knowing his defense has his back on every pitch.

Down to their final out, Gridley sophomore third baseman Gus Stogsdill, who started in his first game from getting called up from the junior varsity level,  hit a routine dribbler to Huskies junior shortstop Logan Yacavace that should have ended the game. Yacavace threw a short hop to Wickum and he was unable to pick the ball off the ground.

Alejo scored as he rounded third base off the throwing error to tie the game and the Bulldogs dugout erupted in excitement.

Gridley took the lead in the eighth inning as McWilliams hit an RBI single to right field with Santillan scoring from second to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead.

McWilliams exclaimed that he was looking to push the ball to the right side (second base side of the field to advance a runner) and it was successful.

Gridley senior captain and designated hitter, Michael Ryan, added an insurance run as he hit an RBI double to left center and extended the Bulldogs lead 7-5. Smallwood survived a late push by the Huskies as they threatened with runners on first and second with two outs.

The win for Gridley kept its perfect season alive and they continued that trend this past Saturday, April 15 as they beat Willows and Durham in a double-header to improve to 10-0 on the season.