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River Valley blistered
Pioneer crushes Falcons 10-0
Losing by the mercy rule was supposed to be a thing of the past for the River Valley High baseball team.
Off to the best start in the program's six years playing at the varsity level, the Falcons were humbled for the first time in 2012.
R.V. coach Billy Rollins' advice following a 10-0, mercy-rule loss to Pioneer on Monday at Falcon Field — forget about it.
"It's tough to go 27 games throughout the year and not have a game where you know you're not on it," Rollins said. "As a whole we didn't play well as a baseball team today.
"They need to learn from their mistakes, but come tomorrow, they have to flush it."
Monday's setback evens the Tri-County Conference series with the Patriots at 1-1 with game three scheduled for April 25 in Woodland. Weather conditions forced the two teams to reschedule the final two games of their series.
After last week's 7-4 loss to the Falcons, Pioneer (10-5, 4-1) didn't waste any time on Monday returning the favor.
The Patriots jumped all over R.V. starter Jake Phillips, tagging the senior right-hander for eight runs (all earned) in 2⁄3 of an inning. Pioneer had five hits in the first inning and drew four walks.
With the way Pioneer lefty Robert Daugherty pitched, the Patriots didn't even need that lead.
Daugherty, a junior, pitched a complete-game (six innings) shutout with seven strikeouts and no walks, while allowing just two hits.
He also led an offensive assault by the Patriots, finishing 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored. Pioneer amassed 11 hits as a team.
This was just another stellar outing for Daugherty, who has already made a verbal commitment to play Division-I baseball for the Pacific-12 Conference's Washington Huskies.
He combined with Thomas Galart on a no-hitter against Roseville on March 8 at Raley Field in Sacramento.
Pioneer lost its first game to River Valley last season and went on to take the series. Patriots coach Craig Marquez said moving past last week's loss to the Falcons was huge in Monday's win.
"We just said, 'Hey, let's forget about that game and have a short memory,'" Marquez said. "I love this league; I love the way it's formatted with the three-game series. It shows the true winner every year."
Pioneer begins a three-game series with Yuba City, beginning today in Woodland, while R.V. hosts Natomas.
R.V. (11-3, 3-2) entered Monday as the No. 1-ranked squad in the A-D and No. 16 in the Sacramento Bee's rankings.
Rollins said the next two weeks will be a challenge for his ballclub, especially in the pitching department.
Due to recent rain showers, the Falcons will play four games this week followed by four games in five days next week.
"It does throw a wrench into things," Rollins said. "We have to re-group, forget about Pioneer for now, and focus our attention on Natomas. We can't overlook anybody."
CONTACT Jimmy Graben at email@example.com or 749-4791. Find him on Facebook at advarsitysports or on Twitter at @ADjgraben