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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

TRI-VALLEY’S BRANDON SCOTT slides safely into home plate as Eldred catcher J. T. Vogt reaches down to grab the baseball in Monday’s non-league game.

T-V Bears Defeat
Eldred in 6 Innings

By Ted Waddell
GRAHAMSVILLE — May 7, 2004 – It was a game in the rain. And it wasn’t on the Plains of Spain.
Monday afternoon’s non-league baseball game between the home team Bears of Tri-Valley and the Eldred Yellowjackets was called by the umpires in the top of the sixth inning as a persistent rain started to get the best of the wet field.
In the top of the first, Eldred went up by a run as leadoff batter Mike Prunka walked, stole second, advanced to the hot corner (third base) and scored on an error.
At their first turn at-bat, the Bears decided that snoozing past winter wasn’t in the cards and answered with six runs on the way to defeating the Yellowjackets, 9-3.
Danny Knox led off with a hard line drive to short. J. R. Rennison doubled, stole second and was driven home on a Zac Bright double.
Ryan Briggs reached on an error that scored Bright. Briggs stole second and Matt Waldman walked. Matt Calabrese then ripped a two RBI single to score Briggs and Waldman. A single by Joe Garigliano sent Calabrese across the plate. Garigliano then purloined second base and got to third on a wild pitch.
Brandon Scott stepped up to the plate and struck out, but Eldred’s catcher dropped the ball and in the throw down to first to record the out, Garigliano scored to give the home team a 6-1 lead at the end of the first frame.
In the bottom of the third, T-V (7-2) added three runs to its side of the scorebook.
Garigliano struck out, but reached base on a dropped ball at the plate. Jason Romero walked. Scott was retired on strikes but the third strike was dropped, allowing Garigliano to cross the plate on the throw down to first base.
Knox walked. Matt Smith, who was pinch hitting for Rennison, answered the call to the plate by smacking a two-run single that scored Knox and Smith.
However, Eldred (0-5) battled back in the top of the sixth with two runs.
Nick McCormick doubled to score Vogt, who had reached base on a single. A.J. Martelli walked. A wild pitch sent McCormick to third.
With runners at first and third, Martelli got picked off in a rundown, but McCormick crossed the plate to end the scoring at 9-3.
Pitcher Matt Waldman went the distance for the Bears, striking out 10, scattering five hits and walking four batters. Two of Eldred’s three runs against Waldman were earned runs.
Mike Prunka pitched for Eldred, throwing off Bears’ batters with a challenging curve ball.
In 31 years of coaching varsity baseball, Eldred Coach Frank Kean has seen his ups and downs.
“I think we started out very rusty, and we gave away six quick runs to bury ourselves early,” he said.
Kean said that in every game of the young season except Monday’s six-run loss to the Bears, his inexperienced team has been in every game and “if a couple of breaks go our way, we could win a few.”
Eldred’s 14-man roster includes three seniors, a lone 11th grader and 10 sophomores.
“We’re inexperienced, but we’re getting there,” Kean said.
This is T-V Coach John Rusin’s third year of coaching Bears’ varsity baseball.
His take of the game in the rain?
“The kids stayed focused in adverse conditions, and we manufactured some runs against a kid who was throwing pretty well and had his curve ball going,” said Rusin.
Rusin added that his team got off to a “shaky start”, but has now won six games in a row.
“The kids are starting to play well together and jelling as a team,” he said. “They’re playing excellent defense, our starting pitching is excellent and we’re hitting pretty well.”
“As far as I’m concerned, pitching and defense are everything,” he added.

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