The Inland Valley Pirates beat the Solana Beach Cardinals Thursday morning 5-1 but fall to the Ventura County Pirates 6-4 in the semifinals to end the season.
In the first elimination game against the #1 seed Solana Beach Cardinals, the Pirates jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the third inning when Allan Dong scored on a balk by Solana Beach pitcher Jay Crusemire. The Pirates then added on to their lead in the fifth inning. After Jake Taylor singled Allan Dong in to make it 2-0 Inland Valley, Nic Hernandez came up with runners on 2nd and 3rd. He then deposited the ball over the left field fence for his second homerun of the season to make the game 5-0.
Cade Kirkemo got the win for Inland Valley after starting the game and going six scoreless innings. All together, the Inland Valley pitching staff held the #1 seed to one run and six hits to eliminate the Cardinals
After the Inland Valley Pirates beat the Solana Beach Cardinals, they had to wait to see who they would play in the semifinal game. In the middle game of the day, the OC Surf beat the Ventura County Pirates to set up another game between the two Pirates teams. Ventura County beat Inland Valley 6-4 for the second time in two games and ended Inland Valley’s season one game short of the championship.
Ventura County took the early 1-o in the first but Inland Valley put up 3 runs in the third inning on the second homerun of the day by Nic Hernandez. With Inland Valley up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the inning, Ventura County answered back with 2 runs of their own to tie the game up and chase Inland Valley pitcher Michael Gomez out of the game. Grant Ponder then came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs. He promptly struck out Trevor Mulcahey to end Ventura County’s threat.
The score stay tied until the sixth inning when Inland Valley Michael Pineiro led off the inning with a single, Nic Hernandez just missed his third homerun of the day as the ball bounced off the base of the fence for a double. Matt Manskar followed with a sac fly to put up Inland Valley up 4-3. Ventura County answered back again by scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-5 Ventura County.
Inland Valley put up another threat in the top of the 7th. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, Roberto Salinas hit a fly ball to the outfield and Dylan McDowell tagged from third to score what would have been the tying run but Ventura County appealed that McDowell left third base early and won the appeal and end the top of the 7th inning.
Ventura County scored one more run in the 7th to make the game 4-6 and that is how the game would end as Inland Valley went scoreless in the final two innings. With the loss, Inland Valley was eliminated from the playoffs and their season ended on their home field.