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Timberwolves slide past Nevada Union

Murphy drives in winner in eighth
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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In an interesting bit of irony, a team that had committed seven errors in the game took advantage of its opponent’s defensive miscue to snatch a victory Monday at Woodcreek High School. The Woodcreek baseball team struggled with the leather all day long, but scored the winning run after Nevada Union misplayed a ball off the bat of the Timberwolves’ leadoff hitter in the eighth inning to set the table as Woodcreek battled to a 5-4 victory. “Baseball is just like every other sport,” said Woodcreek coach Kelly Mayo. “You have to take care of the ball. It’s hard to believe that we commit seven errors and still win the game.” The Miners tallied first, with a run in the top of the first inning, but Woodcreek answered with three in the home half of the stanza. Senior second baseman Tommy Murphy singled and stole second base, and then after two were out, the Timberwolves strung together four consecutive singles in chasing home three runs. Woodcreek starter Kyle Caroddo delivered a strong pitching performance, holding Nevada Union scoreless the rest of the way, with the exception of three runs that scored by way of sloppy defense in the fifth. The Miners needed just two hits to tally three times in that frame, while capitalizing on two physical errors by Woodcreek. The Timberwolves also twice failed to cover second base as runners advanced an extra 90 feet to reach scoring position. “We do not have that overpowering pitcher,” Mayo said. “We have to rely on moving the ball around, throwing ground balls and making plays. We will need to tighten up the defense and do the things we are supposed to do.” Nevada Union right-hander Dillon Jones matched Caroddo on the bump as he kept Woodcreek from scoring again through the fifth inning, when he was replaced by Alec Giron. With Caroddo continuing through seven innings, the squads went to the home half of the seventh with the Miners clinging to a one-run lead. Murphy blasted a double to open the seventh, and after a Justin Smith fly ball moved him over to third base, a Jonathan Canipe fly ball to right was too shallow to even the score. With two outs, Giron worked carefully to No. 4 hitter Jon Nutter, eventually putting him on intentionally after working the count to 3-0. Fresh off the injured list, and hitting in a game for the first time this season, third baseman Clinton Brill drilled the first pitch he saw back through the box and into center field to tie the game at 4-4, and force extra innings. Josh Correa-Wilson tossed a scoreless eighth for Woodcreek, opening the door for his offense to put the finishing touches on the first league win of the young season for the Timberwolves. First baseman Sam Anderson reached on an error to get things started, and then Patrick Murry moved him up to second with a sacrifice bunt. Anthony Roy followed with a bunt that he beat out for a base hit, bringing Murphy to the plate with the game on his bat. “We missed not having Murphy out here last year,” Mayo said. “He had a shoulder injury and did not play. He is a great kid and just does what he needs to do.” With the outcome hanging in the balance, the Miners went to the bullpen for ace right-hander Greg Heauser, but Murphy was up to the challenge. The Woodcreek second baseman fought off a tough 1-2 breaking pitch and served it into right field to plate Anderson with the game-winner. The Timberwolves banged out 13 hits in the contest, with Murphy’s three-hit output leading the way. Nutter, Brill and Anderson each had two hits for Woodcreek as well. “That (13 hits) is a good job for us,” Mayo said. “It’s not surprising because we have been hitting all year.” Woodcreek (1-3 in the SFL, 2-6 overall) hosts Roseville (1-3, 3-6) today.