Wolverines knock off defending champs, two wins away from state title
With a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning against Southern League champions Boulder City and a runner on base, Truckee Head Coach Jeff Murphy was forced to pull pitcher Gary Grosjean due to the senior reaching his pitch count.
“He ran out of pitches,” said Murphy. “We had to make that move and get him out of there.”
Murphy turned the ball over to junior Jake Streit, who needed just one pitch to finish off the Eagles in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament and collect the save for a 7-4 Truckee victory.
Streit delivered a fastball and got a softly hit ground ball up the middle. He made the play on the ball and fired to sophomore Joel Estabrook for the out at second, who then swung the ball to first for the game-ending double play.
“I was thinking (of) exactly what I did,” said Streit on entering the game. “I just wanted to get a double play and get out of there. I threw a fastball right down the middle and the guy missed it, a nice little easy ground ball, threw it, and I knew Tyler was going to make the play from there.”
With the victory the Wolverines are now two games away from capturing the Class 3A state championship, and are in the drivers seat after defeating the two-time defending state champions, Boulder City.
Truckee roughed up Boulder City’s ace Rhett Armstrong early on and rode that early momentum to the victory.
“Getting a win against their number one guy is huge,” Murphy said on facing the Eagles’ ace pitcher. “I think we didn’t see his best, but we were able to get some runs early. And get his pitch count up higher than what he probably wanted.”
Truckee, which has earned the moniker, the Two-Out Nightmare from fans because of the team’s timely hitting, jumped out to a 3-0 lead after half an inning of play and never looked back, getting hits when needed to keep the Eagles at bay.
“Everyone in the stands is giving us the two-out nightmare rally,” said Grosjean. “I guess our best threat is when we have two outs on us … we put the ball in play and get some runs in.”
Designated hitter Marcus Bellon led the Wolverines from the plate, turning in a 3-for-4 performance. Catcher Derek LaFerriere scored three runs, including a key run in the top of the seventh to give Truckee some additional breathing room. First baseman Colin Just also had a pair of hits for Truckee. Third baseman Spencer Edmondson finished with a team-high two RBIs.
From the hill Grosjean finished the afternoon with 11 allowed hits, four earned runs, and two strikeouts.
“You have to work down with these guys because they can definitely get a hold of the ball,” said Grosjean on limiting the Eagles to four runs.
With the victory Truckee is now two wins away from a state championship. The Wolverines will play Elko in tomorrow’s winner’s bracket final. The game will be at 1 p.m. at Galena High School in Reno.
“It’s good that we won, but we’re definitely not done,” said Grosjean. “We’ve got two more games to go.”