The Lassen High School Grizzlies may not have ended the Northern Section California Interscholastic Federation Championship game with the gold, but silver is nothing to laugh about.
The Section Championship game against the Gridley High School Bulldogs was held Saturday, May 19 at Butte College. The final score was 7-0 in favor of the Bulldogs after six and a half innings.
The varsity Grizzly team ended their season with a 3-1 playoff record, a 10-0 league record and an 18-7-1 overall record after the Section Championships.
The Bulldogs started off strong with two runs scored in the first inning, and the success continued from there.
During the top of the second, Lassen saw a single from Malik Delgado. The Grizzlies also had two strikeouts and a ball that was caught in center field.
The bottom of the second started off with Seth McCart striking out the first batter, followed with Jacob Bennett catching the next batter’s hit and ended with Josiah Snell catching the third.
Inning three started with one Grizzly who struck out looking. Then, Snell bunted and nearly reached first, but the ball found its way to the base mere moments quicker. Finally, Darrell Miller put forth a mighty swing that sent the ball flying, but again it managed to find it’s way to first base before he did.
The Bulldog’s luck continued during the bottom of the third as Gridley hit a home run to bring the score to 3-0.
The Bulldogs then had their first out at second base. Soon afterward, Finn Osborn took over on the mound as a relief pitcher.
Both the second and third outs were caught by Miller, but not before Gridley managed to bring in another three runs.
The top of the fourth saw Miles Ormachea hit a pop fly that sent him to the dugout. Then, Cole Dyer had a strong hit to the outfield, but it too was caught. A final strike out sent the Grizzlies back to the field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Osborn had one strikeout and allowed one run before a bold Bulldog lost the gamble stealing second and the next batter was out at first.
Inning five saw strong hits from both Spencer Lively and Delgado, but Lively’s ball beat him to first and Delgado’s was caught in the right field. The third Grizzly out was a strikeout.
During the bottom of the fifth, the Grizzlies effectively kept the Bulldogs at bay with no runs allowed.
The first Bulldog batter walked and allowed his confidence to soar higher than it should have; after the next pitch, Grizzly catcher Dyer threw the ball to first baseman Bennett and the Bulldog was tagged before he could slide to first base once more.
Then, Dustin Morgan caught two pop flies in center field to send the Grizzlies back to bat.
In the sixth inning, Morgan was first at bat, ready to reach, but ended up out at first. Snell followed with a walk, but a strikeout and a pop fly sent the purple and gold back to the field with one runner left on base recorded.
The bottom of the sixth saw no success from the Bulldogs either. The first out was at first base with Bennett quick to tag the base before the runner. Out two was caught by Morgan in the outfield, and the final out was caught by Ormachea to send the Bulldogs back to the dugout.
At the top of the seventh, Dyer hit a single and David Painter was subbed in to run once Dyer reached.
Then, Bennett was hit by the pitch and Painter advanced to second. Lively followed with a hit that initially had both Painter and Bennett on their toes, but a catch in the outfield sent the Grizzlies back to their respective bases.
Delgado and Zachary George tried their hands at bat next, but both hit pop flies and the game was over.
Though the Grizzlies were disappointed with the 7-0 loss, Lassen County remained proud of the boys for their second-place finish in the Section Championships.
After the game, on a public Facebook group, head coach Scott Foreman said, “Congrats to Gridley High as they were the better baseball team today. But this year, Lassen baseball team was special. They had a great year and accomplished a lot. I truly enjoyed this team; it was fun to grind with them daily. I will miss this team’s personality, their laughter, their jokes and their competitiveness. And I will miss this year’s seniors like no other seniors of previous years. It’s hard to believe and sad to think this team will never play another high school baseball game together. They all have touched my heart in a special way.”