EL DORADO — The El Dorado Post 119 Junior Legion team and visiting Bear River played to a 6-6, 10-inning tie Thursday at Union Mine, called on account of darkness and scheduled to resume Saturday at Bear River.
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The stalemate preceded a weekend that saw El Dorado rebound with a 19-10 win at Bear River Saturday morning before a narrow 6-5 setback at Grass Valley.
RJ Blake shouldered the load late in the game. Summoned to pitch in relief, Blake held the visitors for two and a third innings and had a huge impact in tying the score with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
El Dorado trailed 6-3 when Nate Brown reached on a two-out error and Ronnie Hartje came through with a pinch-hit single to bring up Blake.
“I was just trying to get a needed hit and not be an easy out,” Blake said. “Just hit the ball … and it was the right spot.”
With Bear River’s outfield shading toward right, Blake dropped a clutch two-run double down the left-field line and ended up at third on the throw in. Several pitches later with Brendan Hunter in the box, Blake stole home outright, getting a big jump and sliding in uncontested.
“Pitcher was looking down, stepping back in his windup and not paying attention,” Post 119 coach Brett Robinson said. “I asked RJ if he could time him and he said he ‘was ready to go'”
El Dorado’s turn to lose a lead came in the top of the seventh and spoiled Greg Alloway’s six and a third innings on the mound. Post 119 had nursed a 3-2 advantage and were two outs away when two mishaps on the same play sent a Bear River runner home from second base.
Alloway departed after a one-out walk after racking up four scoreless innings in a row.
“I kept the ball down, the curve was working and I kept them off balance by disrupting their eye level,” Alloway said.
Bear River, whose bats had been silent since early in the game, awoke in the eighth with several hits after Post 119 made several miscues in the field.
El Dorado scored three times in the third to erase a 2-0 deficit. Blake reached on a bunt single, Hunter walked and after Blake stole third, Matthew Gould’s grounder to the right side scored him. Post 119 took the lead on Brendan McKillop’s two-out double to left-center.
LAKE OF THE PINES — Gould (3-for-5, two doubles, three RBIs) and Hartje (3-for-5, 3 RBIs) paced the offense Saturday morning. Blake added two hits and Zach Bartelme doubled and drove in two. On the mound, Tim Salemi started and gave up four hits.
GRASS VALLEY — Blake scattered eight hits, struck out five and allowed just one earned run. Blake had two hits, Bartelme another double and two RBIs and Hunter tripled. Post 119 finishes with a 19-11-1 record and awaits the start of Thursday’s District Tournament at Nevada Union High School.