How does a loss turn into a win?
You might want to ask Metea Valley's baseball team.
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Even though a stunning rally still resulted in a 12-11 nine-inning loss to Waubonsie Valley in Game 1 of Saturday's Upstate Eight Conference doubleheader, the host Mustangs managed to roll the momentum into a 6-0 victory in the second game.
Combined with Friday's 8-6 win, Metea Valley (13-13, 11-12) claimed two of the three games against the Warriors (15-12, 13-9).
"It was a split after that first game, and we were so determined to win the series," said Game 2 complete-game winning pitcher Jose Gomez, who scattered 6 hits in the shutout. "I think it carried over with our bats and our fielding. It really helped us go out there with a lot of confidence and go out there and play."
Waubonsie Valley took an 11-2 lead to the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 1, only to watch the Mustangs shock everyone in attendance by scoring 9 runs and sending the game to extra innings. Metea Valley actually had the winning run at second base, but Warriors pitcher Justin Gradus notched the third out.
In the top of the ninth, Waubonsie Valley's Ben Vietri drove in his fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly that scored Jake Bennema. Reliever C.J. Lee earned the win with scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth.
Vietri went 3-for-5 for the Warriors in the opener, with the top five batters in the lineup combining for 11 hits, 8 runs scored and 9 RBI. Mike and Matt Fitzgerald had 3 hits apiece for Metea Valley.
Despite the disappointing loss, Metea Valley immediately struck for all 6 of its Game 2 runs in the first inning to provide Gomez with plenty of room to do his job.
"I thought we had the momentum back," said Warriors coach Dan Fezzuoglio. "They fought all the way back, and then we won the game. But we couldn't get any timely hits in the second game to get us back in it and get energized again. They got off to a 6-0 start, and that's it."
Four straight two-out hits did the damage for the Mustangs in the first inning of Game 2. Michael Mooney's 2-run single started the outburst.
Waubonsie Valley reliever Corey Wright shut down the Mustangs from the second inning through the sixth, allowing only 4 hits. The Warriors stranded seven in the second game, including the bases loaded in the third inning.
"Good to win the series," said Metea Valley coach Craig Tomczak. "The last couple of weeks we've been playing a little better. We didn't play a great Game 1, but we bounced back. And we needed to."
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