Head Coach Randy Abshier and the Grossmont Griffins (2-4) went on the road to take on Irvine Valley for a preseason game. Tim Holdgrafer got the nod to be the starting pitcher in the game for the Griffins, looking to bounce back from taking a loss in his last outing.
Irvine Valley got off to an early start, scoring their first run of the game in the bottom of the first due to a throwing error by Holdgrafer. Griffins answered back right away in the top of the 2nd inning thanks to a double by RF Jale Sim who knocked in 3B Justin Burkley for his first RBI on the young season. 2B Reece Hernandez allowed for Sim to score from a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield.
Holdgrafer allowed 6 more hits and 4 earned runs in the 4th and 5th innings giving Irvine Valley a 5-2 lead. Holdgrafer would finish the day with 7 innings and 7 strikeouts and 5 runs and a no decision.
In the top of the 5th, the Griffins loaded the bases with one out and all three runs came in to tie the game 5-5. Grossmont scored off of a sacrifice fly to left field by LF Robert Bostedt and a double by 1B Noah Strohl which brought in two runners.
In the top of the 9th, the Griffin’s SS Michael Diffley doubled down the left field line and set up a prime opportunity for Grossmont to take back the lead. CF Cabot Van Til reached base on an infield single which put Diffley only 90 feet from scoring. Bostedt cashed in and was able to get Diffley to cross the plate by reaching on an error by Irvine Valley’s pitcher. Til moved into scoring position at second base after the error and then moved up to third base after another throwing error by Irvine Valley’s second baseman. The Griffins however were not able to hit Til in for an insurance run going into the bottom of the ninth which would come back to haunt them. Griffins lead 6-5.
After Griffin Andrew Mitchell’s three-up-three-down inning in the 8th, he ran into trouble in the bottom of the 9th giving up a single to right field and a base-on-balls. Cooper Copeland came into finish what Mitchell started and was able to get a groundout but the runners were both able to move up into scoring position. The Griffins then decided to put on Irvine Valley’s clean-up hitter, effectively loading the bases with only one out.
Copeland was able to strike out the next batter and was only one out away from sending the Griffins back home with a victory.
Under pressure, Copeland blew his save opportunity by hitting the batter with a pitch, allowing Irvine Valley to tie the game. Javier de la Torre came into to replace Copeland on the bump and got the final out of the inning with the winning run stranded at third base. Tie game, 6-6, going into extra innings.
Til in the top of the 11th was as clutch as it gets, forcing a walk and putting himself in scoring position all by himself by stealing second base. Bostedt came up to the plate and got his second RBI of the day, hitting in Til for the winning run.
De la Torre shut down Irvine Valley in the bottom half of the 11th giving Grossmont its third win of the year, 7-6.
Grossmont ended the game with 12 hits and de la Torre was the winning pitcher (1-0).
Grossmont faces Chaffey College for their first home game of the year on Thursday, February 16th at 2:00 pm.