SARATOGA, Calif. - Nate Petrov lifted an 0-1 pitch to the left-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 12th inning, driving in Jake Pao and giving the West Valley baseball team a heart-pounding 9-8 win over American River Saturday afternoon in Saratoga.
Pao doubled to open the 12th, followed by back-to-back walks to Hunter Schilperoort and Robert Zamora, setting the stage for Petrov and the ensuing Viking dogpile at second base. American River jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the capacity opening-day crowd at Valhalla had settled into their seats, thanks to BJ Baker's first-inning grand slam. The Vikings (2-0) would chip away, picking up four runs in the fifth on an RBI single from Zamora and a two-run single from Danny O'Reilly.
Zamora delivered another run-scoring single in the sixth and Eric Ochoa made it 7-7 in the seventh with a pinch-hit double that scored Ruben Trejo. The Beavers (0-2) grabbed an 8-7 lead in the top of 10th when Baker scored on a Nik Huddleston fielder's choice. Ochoa was hit by a pitch to open the bottom half of the frame, moved to second on Marco Salvetti's sacrifice bunt, and then scored the tying run on single by Pao. Reliever Jared Espinosa set the Beavers down in order in the 11th and 12th to pick up his first win of the season.
West Valley hits the road for a Tuesday (1/30) tilt at Hartnell (1-0) and a Thursday (2/1) game at San Joaquin Delta. First pitch for both game is 2 p.m.
(Matt Folsom, West Valley Athletics)