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Rocklin soph Smith takes bats out of Granite Bay's hands

Grizzlies have two-game lead with three to play in SFL
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Granite Bay High School lost to Rocklin 2-1 on Friday in a Sierra Foothill League pitcher?s duel.

The Grizzlies? top-notch offense was held down by Rocklin starter Ryan Smith, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who allowed one run and three hits in six innings.

The Grizzlies (18-5 overall, 10-2 SFL) were denied of a series sweep but will take a two-game lead over the Thunder (13-10, 8-4) into the final week of the regular season.

?They usually have a pattern that they use and we can figure it out, but he did a good job of mixing it up, fastball first pitch, in and out,? Granite Bay coach Pat Esposito said. Our hitters were a little off balance.?

Smith relied on a fastball with late, lateral movement, and Grizzlies hitters were unable to square up. Aaron Knapp was the lone bright spot, going 1 for 3 with a walk, two stolen bases and Granite Bay?s only run.

Things got exciting in the bottom of the seventh, when Smith was replaced by closer Tanner McVey. With two outs, pinch hitter Jordan Blake knocked a two-strike hit to right field. Vinny Esposito followed with a line drive to left that was misplayed, allowing pinch runner Nick Bermudez to advance to third and Esposito to second.

It came down to Knapp, who was cornered with a 1-2 count before hitting a soft line drive to the first baseman to end the game.

Granite Bay starter Travis Magness allowed Rocklin?s two runs in the second on back-to-back walks and a double by Joey Raymond. Powerful but erratic reliever Gabe Meza pitched the final two innings, loading the bases in the sixth and putting two on in the seventh before working out of trouble.

Esposito felt it was a rare off game for the Grizzlies? bats.

?We?ve been hammering the ball all over the yard,? Esposito said. ?There?s really nothing more we have to do. It?s a credit to the pitcher more than whether or not our guys are hitting the ball. Our guys can pretty much handle anybody who steps on the mound.?