What a difference a day makes! Whereas Monday’s Acalanes-Clayton Valley Charter varsity baseball game was a battle of the bats, Tuesday’s game was a pitcher’s duel
Coming off a complete game last week, Benjy Braunstein (jr) got the start for the Dons, while Clayton Valley handed the ball to their own crafty pitcher. Clayton Valley drew first blood in the bottom of the 1st on a couple of errors, and the score stayed 1-0 until the 3rd inning when the Dons bats came alive. Ben Burleigh (sr) and Ethan Rowland (jr) led of the inning with singles and advanced to 2nd and 3rd on Jack Cusumano’s (jr) perfect sacrifice bunt. With 2 outs, Burleigh took advantage of wild pitch and took off from 3rd base to barely beat a diving catcher’s tag. Brady Huchingson (sr) proceeded to smoke a single to right field, bringing in Rowland and putting the Dons up 2-1.
Meanwhile, on the mound Benjy Braunstein was dealing, keeping a powerful hitting Clayton Valley team off balance and off the scoreboard. The Dons chased the crafty Clayton Valley starter in the 5th when they loaded the bases with hits by Cusumano and Kyle White (jr) and a walk to Huchingson, but were unable to cash in any runs off a flame throwing reliver.
With the score still 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th, Benjy took the hill again aiming for his 2nd straight complete game. After retiring the first two batters, it looked like the Dons were poised for a 2nd straight victory. Unfortunately, the next batter singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With a Cal committed 3rd hitter at the plate, and 91 pitches under his belt, Benjy departed. Two plays later the cleanup hitter hit a two-strike pitch off the 3rd base bag for a double, tying the score at 2-2.
The flame thrower began to get wild in the top of the 8th, but the Dons couldn’t quite capitalize on it. In the bottom of the 8th, another Cal commit came to the plate and with two-strikes hit a ball a foot inside the left field foul pole to give Clayton Valley the walk-off win.
It was a hard-fought game that barely got away from the Dons. However, it sets up an intriguing final game of the three-game series on Thursday. The Dons are at home, finals are over and it’s senior night.