Miles Harvey was a hero without a hit Tuesday night.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the St. Helena High junior smacked a ground ball to the Middletown third baseman and Jasper Henry beat the throw to the plate to lift the Saints to a 5-4 victory over their visiting North Central League I rival.
Henry and Liam Gilson had both singled with one out. They went their separate ways, Henry to third base and Gilson to the dugout, on a Stacy Nelson III’s fielder’s choice grounder. Brent Isdahl kept the inning alive with a walk before Harvey’s walk-off fielder’s choice scored Henry, who had been caught stealing to end the fourth inning.
St. Helena (4-3, 4-2 NCL I) out-hit the Mustangs (4-2 NCL I) 8-5, led by Henry’s 3-for-5, two-RBI night. Gilson, who was 2 for 5 with an RBI, pitched the first four innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Nelson threw the last four frames for the win, yielding 2 earned runs on 1 hit, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts.
Isdahl went 1 for 3 with 2 walks, Spencer Printz was 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored, 1 walk and 2 stolen bases. Justin Maldonado went 1 for 3 with 1 walk, 1 run scored and 1 stolen base. Harrison Ronayne drew 3 walks and scored a run.
Middletown had opened the scoring in the first on a single, walk and two-out RBI double.
The Saints got on the board with two runs in the second innings for a 2-1 lead.
Ronayne walked, Printz singled to left field, Maldonado loaded the bases with a bunt single, and Ronayne scored on Guzman’s sacrifice fly to center. Printz then scored on a double play as Henry flied out to the right fielder, who nabbed Maldonado trying to take third after tagging up.
Middletown tied it 2-2 on a two-out RBI single in the fourth. But St. Helena went back ahead, 4-2, in the bottom half as Printz, Maldonado and Guzman all walked to load the bases. Printz scored on a Henry fielder’s choice and Maldonado scored on a Gilson sacrifice fly, before Henry was nabbed.
Neither team scored in the third, fifth or sixth despite getting on base, as the teams combined to strand 18 base runners.
But with two outs in the top of the seventh, with Mustangs at first and second base, a Nelson wild pitch allowed both runners to advance. That set the stage for a two-run single that tied the game.
In the bottom half, the Saints also had runners at second and third with two outs. But a strikeout sent the game into extra innings.
Nelson overpowered Middletown in the top of the eighth, walking one batter but striking out the other three, to set up the winning rally in the bottom half.
St. Helena was coming off Friday’s 4-0 loss at Kelseyville (3-3 NCL I), which had edged Middletown 11-10 earlier that week. Knights ace Jeremy Brown pitched a three-hitter, allowing only one Saint to reach third base.
Brown, who walked 2 and struck out 5, had a 2-0 lead before he took the mound in the bottom of the first. Kelseyville scored the other two runs in the third.
On April 20, St. Helena took a long trip to Willits and blanked the Wolverines, 8-0.
They got a combined three-hitter from Gilson (5 2/3 innings, six strikeouts, three hits) and Henry (1 1/3 innings, strikeout, walk, no hits).
St. Helena (3-2, 3-1 NCL I) pounded out 12 hits to support the stellar pitching.
In the first inning, Henry (3 for 5, two RBIs, three runs scored) got things started with a single to center. Henry stole second and was brought home on a single to left by Brent Isdahl (3 for 3, solo home run, run scored, walk) to make it 1-0.
After Gilson shut down the Wolverines in the bottom half, the Saints erupted for four runs in the second. Micah Marquez (1 for 4, run scored) got things started with a single. Walks to Justin Maldonado and Alejandro Guzman loaded the bases for Henry, who drove in both with a double to the right-center field gap to plate Marquez and Maldonado. Gilson then ripped a single to center to bring in Guzman. Successive walks to Stacy Nelson (1 for 3, triple, RBI, walk) and Isdahl brought in the fourth run of the frame to make it 5-0.
Isdahl broke through in the fifth with a booming home run over the wall in right-center field to make the score 6-0.
The Saints added a couple of insurance runs in the sixth. Henry led off with a single and scored on Nelson’s triple into the left-center alley. Nelson came home on an Isdah single, his third hit of the game, to cap the scoring.
Also playing well for the Saints were Miles Harvey (3 for 4), Justice Penterman (1 for 1, Thomas Herdell (1 for 1) and Dominic Martin (walk).
“It was good to get this win after a couple of tough losses last weekend, especially since we were missing a couple of key starters,” St. Helena head coach Darrell Quirici said, adding that Marquez, Penterman and Herdell were brought up from the JV for the game and played well. “Marquez and Penterman both made several outstanding plays in the field. Overall, we had a few baserunning miscues that we need to clean up. But it was great to see the kids swinging the bats well, and Liam pitched a great game. He had command of his pitches and kept the Wolverines off balance the entire game.
“It was also good to get Henry back on the mound for 1 1/3 innings. We are going to need him, and so it was important to get him some work after a short stint on the mound this past Saturday.”
The Saints will host Fort Bragg in a doubleheader on Friday, with games at 3 and 5:30 p.m., before visiting Lower Lake on Tuesday.
St. Helena 4, Middletown 1
The Saints opened their season with the win on April 20 at home.
“It was a solid season and home opener,” St. Helena coach Chris Cheng said. “Our almost-all-seniors team had the opening day jitters but played through it against a very game, young Middletown team.”
Middletown’s Paige Astley defeated Macie McPherson at No. 1 singles, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
But the Saints won the rest. At No. 2 singles, it was Will Garrett over Lara Patterson, 6-1, 6-0, while Will Pakter downed Sophie Kucer at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
At No. 1 doubles, Loren Maher and Audie Novak won 6-2, 6-3 over John and Joe Reynosa, and the No. 2 team of Max Brown and Robert Przybylinski put away Olivia Kucer and Reese Caldwell, 7-6, 6-1.
St. Helena 8, Middletown 0
The Saints scored seven runs in the third and one in the fourth while Aribella Farrell pitched a three-hit shutout at home Tuesday. Farrell was dominant, amassing 12 strikeouts with no walks.
Leading a nine-hit attack for St. Helena (7-3, 5-0 NCL I) were Alexandra Hill (2 for 3, double, 2 RBIs, run scored), Blythe Brakesman (2 for 3, RBI, run scored, stolen base) and Sofia Cupp (2 for 3, RBI, 3 stolen bases). Also with hits were Carter Dahline (1 for 4, run), Linnea Cupp (1 for 1, 2 walks, 2 runs scored) and Gema Jimenez (1 for 3, RBI, run scored).
Skylar Fruetal (walk, run scored), Mia Wagner (walk, run scored) and Farrell (walk, RBI) also contributed offensively.
The Saints were coming off an 11-0 shutout win in five innings at Kelseyville on Friday. Starting pitcher Dahline gave up 3 hits and no walks while fanning 8 in four innings. Farrell pitched the fifth, striking out 1 with no hits or walks.
St. Helena out-hit the Knights just 5-3, but capitalized on 13 walks and five Kelseyville errors. The Saints' hits came from Linnea Cupp (2 for 3, RBI, walk), Brakesman (1 for 4, RBI), Sofia Cupp (1 for 2, RBI, 2 walks, 3 runs scored, 2 stolen bases) and Hill (1 for 3, RBI, stolen base). Dahline supplied 3 walks, an RBI and a run scored, Farrell a walk, an RBI and a run scored, and Andrea Tobon 2 walks and a run scored, Alexa Avila, Jimenez and Fruetal each added a walk and run scored. Daniela Mendoza added a walk.
On Thursday, the Saints looked in the mirror by takiing on another team with two strong pitchers and a young and energetic squad — Vine Valley Athletic League co-leader Vintage, which lost an early lead before pulling away for a 12-6 victory at St. Helena.
Vintage was trying to add to a 2-0 lead in the second, but Brakesman scooped up a ground ball and fired home on a fielder’s choice to nab a runner and end the rally.
The Saints carried the momentum of that play into the bottom half of the second against starting pitcher Morse. Wagner (2 for 3, RBI) was hit by a pitch, stole second base, and scored on a single by Hill (2 for 4, 2 RBIs, run). Hill took second on the throw home, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Jimenez (1 for 3) to tie it at 2-2.
Vintage threatened again in the third by loading the bases with one out. But the Saints nabbed at runner at the plate again, with shortstop Wagner firing to catcher Sofia Cupp for the second out, before a strikeout stranded three more Crushers.
St. Helena again rallied with two outs in the bottom half, as Linnea Cupp walked, Wagner reached on an error, Hill singled in Cupp, and Wagner scored on a wild pitch for a 4-2 lead.
But Vintage surged back into the lead, 6-4, with a five-run fourth.
Sofia Cupp (1 for 3, run) and Dahline (1 for 4, run) rounded out St. Helena’s seven-hit day.
“It was fun,” St. Helena head coach Brandon Farrell said. “We had some chances to keep it close and I was real happy with how the kids approached and executed with the bats. Shelby and Raimy are very good pitchers. We had a chance to keep it at 4-3 or 4-4 in the fourth. Just a few plays can pile up at any one time. It was a good game for us to keep the momentum we had going for league.”
The Saints were to host American Canyon (4-1, 4-0 VVAL) on Wednesday night before hosting Fort Bragg in a doubleheader on Friday, with games at 3 and 5 p.m.
Middletown 11, St. Helena 9
The Saints dropped a heartbreaker at home Tuesday. They led 9-1 after two innings but didn’t score the rest of the way. The Mustangs scored three runs in the third and four in the fourth before taking the lead with a three-run sixth.
St. Helena sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning, when Micah Marquez capped a six-run outburst with a two-run double. Wynton Meyer had a single earlier in the inning, which also saw the Saints capitalize on four walks and a hit batter.
The Saints also loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but waited until there were two outs to score three runs—on RBI walks by Tommy Herdell and Liam Joy and an error.
After the Mustangs went up 11-9, Jake Salling walked and Herdell singled to bring the winning run to the plate with no outs. But an infield fly, fielder’s choice and popup ended the game.
St. Helena drew 12 walks— two each by Will Meyer, Justice Penterman, Herdell and Joy, and one apiece by Zantos Segura, Christian Meineke, Josh Johnson and Salling. Will Meyer had four steals and Penterman one. Will Meyer and Meineke each scored twice, and Marquez, Wynton Meyer, Penterman, Johnson and Salling scored once each.
On Friday, the Saints beat Kelseyville on the road, 8-3. They led 4-1 after four innings and held on for the NCL I victory.
Marquez (3 for 5, run, stolen base) led St. Helena’s 14-hit attack. Also with hits were Salling (2 for 4, home run, RBI, run), Joy (2 for 4, 2 RBIs), Will Meyer (2 for 5, run), Penterman (2 for 4, RBI, run, four stolen bases), Segura (1 for 2, double, sacrifice fly, 2 RBIs, run), Meineke (1 for 3, RBI, run, stolen base) and Wynton Meyer (1 for 5, run, stolen base). Herdell drew two walks, stole a base and scored a run.