The 49ers played the 2011 Bay Conference Opener against the Napa Valley College Storm at Gary Engelken field on Friday, March 4th, and walked away with a conference win. “It was awesome – great way to start the year,” said Joe Garcia, a Sophomore outfielder.
By the end of the First inning, the Yuba College 49ers led 0-2, but Napa would put points on the scoreboard in the top of the Third inning when Ryan Wagner doubled, to bring home Sean Viratos and Andrew Ratterman, and tie the game 2-2.
Yuba College’s Brennan Alejo started the bottom of the Third with a lead-off single, and Chris Stocker hit a single to advance Alejo. Joe Garcia stepped into the batter’s box, swung the bat several times, then eyed the pitcher defiantly. The hard swing connected, sending the ball flying over the left-field fence. “I didn’t think it was going”, he said. But, it did: scoring three runs for the 49ers (2-5).
After several scoreless innings, the Storm would tie the game up (5-5) in the top of the sixth inning, but the 49ers answered back. Brandon Pope was walked, and A.Z. Suttons’s sacrifice bunt moved Pope to second base. The Storm’s pitcher, Jordan Grubbs, walked the next two batters (Anthony Stolo and Brennan Alejo). With the bases loaded, all eyes were on Freshman Chris Stocker. A driving hit to center scored Pope and Stolo, and left Alejo standing on Second base. Another two runs would score; an RBI single by Jonathan Downer and Joe Garcia tagged-up on a fly ball hit by Nick Finney.
With Yuba leading (5-9), the Storm battled to score another run in the top of the Eighth inning. However, in the bottom of the Eighth, Yuba College scored another three runs with the help of Chris Stocker, Joe Garcia, and Jonathan Downer. “Felt like we came together”, Downer said, “Felt like everyone was contributing.” Yuba extended the lead 6-12.
The Storm raged in the 9th inning with Andrew Ratterman’s lead-off double. Ray Osuna, Yuba’s closing pitcher, then walked Tyler Kozolowski. The Storm’s Max Dodson hit a ball into left field to score the two runners (8-12). The Storm cleared, and the Yuba College stood victorious. “It’s definitely good that we got the win,” said the 49ers’ starting pitcher Tyler Osbourne.