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Sonora scores early, holds off late Calaveras rally

Calaveras’ Mike Seawell (right) successfully steals second base while Sonora shortstop Justin Payne waits for the throw. Cat second baseman Gino Balestrieri backs up. Amy Alonzo Rozak / Union Democrat
The Sonora Wildcats scored four runs in the first two innings and held off a late Calaveras Redskin rally to win 4-2 Friday at Bev Barron Field.

Sonora junior Rocky Rozadilla hurled the first four innings and allowed just one run on three hits to earn his first win of the year.

Trailing 4-1 heading into the seventh, Redskin Anthony Flores was hit by a pitch to open the frame.

Flores moved around the bases and scored on passed balls and wild pitches.

With one out, Brian Golston walked which prompted Wildcat head coach Scott Johnson to bring in his ace, Ryan Stevenson, out of the bullpen.

But Stevenson immediately walked Jason Kennedy and both runners advanced on a passed ball.

With both runners in scoring position, Stevenson retired the final two hitters by strikeout to preserve the victory.

“We started Rocky, we haven’t been able to throw him much because we’ve needed him at catcher, but he threw pretty well and did exactly what we wanted,” said Johnson. “Then Ryan came in and he put it away. We hit the ball pretty well but we’ve gotta develop that killer instinct and close out games.”

The Wildcats scratched across one run in the first. Stevenson led off with a single, stole a base and scored on a single by Ryan Dies.

Sonora scored three more in the second with the big blow a two-run single by Gino Balestrieri.

After allowing the early runs, Redskin lefthander Wyatt Durham shut down the Wildcats over the final four innings on just two hits. In his complete game effort he allowed seven hits and three earned runs while walking three and striking out seven.

“Their lefty did real well against us,” said Johnson. “After the first two innings, we didn’t do much against him.”

The Redskins broke up the shutout in the fourth when Mike Seawell leadoff with a single. He stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Flores’ ground out.

For Calaveras (3-3), Flores was 1 for 2 with a double, Seawell was 1 for 2 and Jake Souza and Derrick Rittinhouse each had singles.

Stevenson went 2 for 2 with two runs scored for Sonora (7-3), Balestrieri was 1 for 3, Justin Payne was 1 for 3, Evan Estes 1 for 2, Ryan Dills 1 for 2 and Dies went 1 for 3.

The Wildcats on Tuesday will begin Valley Oak League play at Sierra.

“I think the VOL is deeper than it has been in years,” said Johnson. “Oakdale is obviously still the team to beat but Sierra, East Union, Manteca are all tough. And then you’ve got Lathrop returning a lot of players and they beat us last year on our way to the section championship game. Anybody in this league can beat anybody on any give day. And our kids are so young so we may have some growing pains early on. If we can adjust, I think we’ll do just fine.”

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