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R.V. baseball ousted by Placer
Hillmen crush Falcons 12-1
SACRAMENTO — There was no comeback for River Valley High this time.
Three days after rallying for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull off a dramatic 6-5 victory over Whitney in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Falcons saw the most successful season in program history come to a close with a 12-1 loss to Placer at the Dan McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks on Thursday.
The Hillmen wasted little time getting the ball rolling by plating six runs in the first inning — all of them coming with two outs — and went on to end the game after just five innings of play.
The six-run first proved to be the death blow for River Valley, which had the difficult task of taking on Cal-bound right-hander Ryan Mason. The hard-throwing, 6-foot-6 senior ace was dominant from start to finish, recording nine strikeouts and allowing just three hits to improve his record to 8-0 on the year.
Needless to say, it wasn't the end the Falcons were looking for. Tears were shed during the postgame speech, but the team left the dugout with their heads held high after completing the season with a 22-8 record while finishing second in the Tri-County Conference to perennial power and cross-town rival Yuba City.
"It's been a great year and I told the seniors how much I love them," River Valley coach Billy Rollins said. "I'm just as competitive as anyone else, but sports is about building relationships, and I'm proud of the relationships I've built with these seniors.
"Today just wasn't our day."
Austin Spencer, who was the hero after driving in the game-winning run on Monday, got the start for River Valley but fell into trouble in the bottom of the first when he walked the bases loaded with two outs. Kevin Giles drove in two runs with a single to put the Hillmen on the board before A.J. Sanchez provided the game's biggest blow by hitting a grand slam that just cleared the wall in left.
And with Mason throwing darts from the hill, thoughts of another comeback victory were dim.
"He had good stuff," Rollins said. "It could've been a different game, but it's hard when you give up a six-spot in the first."
Giles added a two-run double in the second inning and Placer scored another run on a wild pitch to take a 9-0 lead into the third. The Hillmen capped the scoring with three more runs in the fourth.
Giles finished the game 3 for 3 with four RBIs and Sanchez went 2 for 3 with five RBIs to lead the way for Placer (19-7), which will play Rodriguez in the next round on Saturday.
The lone bright spot for River Valley came in the top of the fifth when senior Greg Cannon touched Mason for a solo home run to left. Cameron Boomgaarden led off the game with a sharp single to center and sophomore T.J. Dove beat out an infield single in the fourth to account for the other two Falcon hits.
"It was an incredible season," Rollins said. "We set a school record for wins and we won our first playoff game ever. I'm just really proud of these kids."