'Cats go two-and-out at state tournament
Two one-run losses cut short the Channel Cats attempt at winning the American Legion Junior Baseball State Championship this weekend in Yountville.
Before the tournament Colusa received an at-large bid to the Western Regionals so its season will continue but the losses prevented the 'Cats from bringing home the coveted state title.
Small mistakes added up in both games to usher in the early exit.
"I don't think it was motivation, it was just bad timing," manager Sonny Badaluco said. "We played a lot of games this season and not every game is going to be a good one."
The 'Cats lost to Deer Valley 6-5 in the first game of the tournament Saturday despite having an 11-to-4 advantage in the hits column.
"We left 8-10 runners on base and they got a few walks and their hits were timely," Badaluco said.
Deer Valley scored at least one run in each of the first four innings to take a 6-0 lead but Colusa pulled within one run in the seventh inning when the rally ran out of steam.
Colusa pitchers walked seven batters and the defense committed four errors behind them to give Deer Valley an opening which they took advantage of.
"They're all competitors and it was our first time going to state and they knew that," Badaluco said. "They wanted to make a good showing."
The second game ended in a painful loss on Sunday after several errors handed Napa all four of their runs and eliminated the Channel Cats from contention.
A walk and two dropped fly balls loaded the bases before a double cleared the bases and gave Napa a 3-2 lead, Badaluco said.
Colusa tied the game with one run in the fifth but was unable to cross the plate again.
In the bottom of the seventh inning Napa loaded the bases on Timmy Zucco with two outs and was forced to throw a strike after falling behind 3-0 in the count. Napa's Grant Wright made contact on the next pitch with a check swing and first baseman Chad Perry couldn't field the two-hopper cleanly, Badaluco said.
The bang-bang play at first went Napa's way and Wright was ruled safe allowing the run to score and end the game.
"You never want to leave the game in the umpire's hands and when you do that, those things are going to happen," Badaluco said.
Zucco pitched the complete game and all four runs scored against him were unearned. Brad Props carried the 'Cats offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a double, a RBI and two runs scored.
Perry followed up his two-hit game on Saturday with two more hits in the loss to Napa.
The Channel Cats return to Yountville for the West Regional on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to play the No. 2 team out of Nevada.
"Some teams might think we don't deserve the bid so we have to prove ourselves," Badaluco said.