Truckee baseball | Pado hits walk-off in 10th to lift Wolverines to playoff victory
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; That’s the way playoff baseball should be played.
Ten innings into a tightly contested pitchers’ duel, Truckee leadoff man Aaron Pado poked a walk-off RBI single to the opposite field to lift the Wolverines to a 2-1 win over Fernley in the opener of their best-of-three playoff series Friday.
The clutch hit was a brief flash of offense in an otherwise masterfully pitched game, as senior aces Steven Baker and Kenney Bradley went toe-to-toe for nine innings of one-run ball. Baker scattered five hits and gave up only one unearned run in a 13-strikeout performance. Bradley allowed seven hits and a run while fanning 12.
and#8220;He wanted it; five hits in nine innings, 13 strikeouts and#8212; he was dealing,and#8221; Truckee head coach Mike Ellis said of his senior right-hander. and#8220;It’s too bad we couldn’t get it done for him.and#8221;
Despite their dominance, Baker and Bradley both left the game after nine innings, Baker with 116 pitches and Bradley with 125. Pado came in and threw a scoreless 10th inning in relief, while Kyle Bryce relieved Bradley in the bottom of the 10th.
Truckee catcher Luke Theis smoked a line-drive single to left off of Bryce to lead off the inning. After a fly out and a walk, Pado stepped to the plate and worked the count full before stroking a fastball into right field to score the winning run.
and#8220;I thought we played well,and#8221; said Fernley head coach James King. and#8220;We faced a pretty good pitcher. It was definitely a pitchers’ duel. Both pitchers threw great. I wish it wouldn’t have gone extra innings so we could have had our starter in there still, but he’d thrown a lot of pitches.and#8221;
Truckee held a slim 1-0 lead for much of the contest, as Jackson Rohlf put the Wolverines on the board with a sacrifice fly in the third while Baker shut out the Vaqueros through six innings. He ran into trouble and#8212; and some bad luck and#8212; in the seventh, however.
After allowing a single to Gavin Henderson to lead off the inning, Baker recorded an out before hitting John Gelmstedt to put two runners on. Andrew Nelson then hit a ground ball to Pado at shortstop, but on the double-play attempt, Tony Buranzon’s low throw to first got past Ryan Smith, which allowed the pinch-running Tyler Bagby to come across with the tying run.
Bradley set the Wolverines down in order in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
Truckee nearly gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth on a fluke play. Baker recorded the first two outs before Edwin Salse hit a hard ground ball past the diving Buranzon at second, which split center fielder Trevor Auldridge and right fielder Chris Towle. The relay throw to third then sailed over the leaping reach of Brooks Hudson and caromed off the fencing in front of and#8212; or perhaps to the side of and#8212; the Wolverines’ dugout.
Initially, the umpire ruled that the ball went into the dugout, which awarded Salse a free 90 feet for the go-ahead run. But after convening, the umpiring crew decided that the ball did not enter the dugout, and they sent Salse back to third.
Baker, after hitting Gelmstedt to put runners on the corners, struck out Nelson looking to end the threat.
and#8220;There were a couple of calls that could have gone either way, but that’s baseball,and#8221; King said.
Pado came on and threw a flawless 10th inning before picking up his team in the bottom half of the inning with the game-winner.
and#8220;We didn’t know it was going to go 10 innings, but we definitely knew they were going to be a challenge,and#8221; Pado said of the Vaqueros. and#8220;We just went out with the mentality to play hard, and Bake (Baker) kept us in it. He threw an amazing game. That was one of the best games I’ve seen him throw.and#8221;
Aside from Pado, Ellis credited catcher Luke Theis for a well-played game, as the senior made a number of crucial blocks with runners on base.
and#8220;Theis was a warrior behind the plate,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;It was a combined team win, all the way down the line.and#8221;
Truckee improved to 25-5 overall while running its win streak to 12 games. Fernley fell to 13-12. The Vaqueros face an elimination game Saturday at 10 a.m. If needed, a third and deciding game will be held Saturday at 1 p.m.
and#8220;I believe the winner of this series is going to win state,and#8221; said King. and#8220;That’s a hell of a ball club over there.and#8221;
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