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In a back-and-forth pitchers duel, it was the California Grizzlies who made just enough plays in another thrilling East Bay Athletic League game.
Behind seven strong innings from starting pitcher Dillon Rudd and a walk-off single from Brady Wetzel, the Grizzlies (3-2) earned a massive 2-1 victory in extra innings over Foothill (3-1), who entered as one of the state’s top teams.
“It was a crazy game,” Wetzel said. “It was a great pitchers duel on both sides. Each pitcher was filling it up, doing their thing. Raoul came in clutch with that home run in the fifth inning to really get us going, get us that lead. And then they battled all the way through, came back, out up a run, brought it to extras. It was just a crazy game.
“We left a few people on base, felt like we should have done the job a little better scoring people, but we came out into extras, we got on base, got a runner to third off a passed ball and gave us a good chance. I was able to get the base hit up the middle to win the game. It was just an amazing feeling to just pull that one out because that’s a tough team. I know they’re good, and it was just a great game overall.”
Rudd was a force on the mound after tossing four impressive innings versus Granada last week when he tallied nine strikeouts.
The senior lasted seven innings, surrendering just one run, striking out five batters and giving up three hits.
Four of Rudd’s seven innings were 1-2-3 frames.
“I was spotting my fastball pretty well, and when I get my curveball down and over the plate, I had a bunch of people swinging at it away in the dirt. That was helping me out a lot.”
Long Beach State commit Raoul Fabian got the day started with a long ball to left field in the fifth inning, putting Cal ahead 1-0.
“I was looking first pitch fastball, so I was going to jump on it no matter what,” Fabian said. “And I found it in my wheelhouse and drove it that way.”
But Foothill bounced back in the top of the seventh inning with its back against the wall, as a base hit from Evan Bilter scored a run, tying the game at 1-1.
However, while Foothill had more chances to score in the inning, the umpires ruled that he did not touch first base, which resulted in an out. The run still counted.
Cal came through after, never letting the late adversity rattle it.
Dean Meddaugh hit a pinch-hit single, followed by a fielders choice form Fabian, who later advanced to third on an error on a pickoff attempt.
Brady Wetzel then scored Fabian on a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“In my head, I was like, ‘All I’ve really got to do is get on top of one, make sure I barrel it, just do whatever I can to get him in,’” Wetzel said. “And he threw me a fastball high, and I made sure I got my barrel on top of it and just drove it right up the middle.”
Nathan Shinn shined on the mound for Foothill, as the San Francisco State bound lefty tossed seven innings of one-run ball, recording seven strikeouts compared to one walk.
Fabian was the only one to notch multiple hits off Shinn, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run.
“That pitcher is really good,” Fabian said. “He really locates really good on the outside for righties. He comes in on lefties. With a good pitcher and a good hitter like me, it’s always a good battle.”
The two teams will meet again at 4 p.m. Friday at Foothill.
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