Vista rallies for 5-4 win over Central Catholic

Scolini's pinch-single drives in winning run
By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Down 4-1 heading into the sixth inning, Vista del Lago?s varsity baseball team jumped on tiring pitcher Matt Palazzo, scoring four runs, including the winning run on a pinch-hit single by Nick Scolini, to earn the 5-4 win over Central Catholic. The win advanced Vista to Saturday?s second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs, a best-of-three series against Oakdale, winners of the Valley Oak League, who defeated River City 5-1. Saturday?s first game of the series will be played at 3 p.m. Josh Pfeffer led off the sixth by taking a 0-2 pitch from Palazzo and doubled off the wall in left field. After Alex Muzzi popped out, Wyland Silvan singled to center to put runners on the corners. Ahead 3-1 in the count, Ryan Rodriguez, who went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the game, singled to score Pfeffer and make it a two-run game, 4-2. After falling behind Travis Fowlston 2-0, Palazzo was replaced by John Mundt on the mound after his 103rd pitch. After looking at a strike, Fowlston followed with a bloop double to left field that scored Silvan to make it 4-3. Vista coach Scott Seffens then went with Scolini to pinch-hit for Jacob Winkler, who was 0-2 with a strikeout in his previous at bats. On a 1-1 pitch, Scolini singled back up the middle to score Rodriguez and Fowlston to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead. ?It feels pretty good to come through,? Scolini said. ?I?m pretty sure it was a fastball and he got it in the middle of the plate. Coming off the bench you just have to have the mindset that you?re going to come through in the clutch.? It was a big hit for Scolini because he had been playing regularly at the beginning of the season, but has been relegated to the bench for much of the second-half of the season. ?Nick can hit, but he?s been the odd man out once we got on a roll there,? Seffens said. ?Nick never complains about not playing. He?s always positive and came in and got a big hit and I?m happy for him.? Vista came through with a clutch defensive play that kept Central Catholic from tying the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out Kyler Wilson drove the ball almost to the wall, as Vista center fielder Alex Muzzi, who was shading Wilson to left-center, chased after the ball. Muzzi threw a long strike to cutoff man Bryce Gieseke, who in turn nailed Wilson at third base with a perfect throw to Nick Rametta. ?That was a great relay by Bryce and that?s why we practice that,? Rodriguez said. Said Seffens of the play, ?It was huge.? The next batter, Blake Escobar, hit a high fly ball to right field and the wind played tricks on Vista?s Matt Jimison, who failed to make the catch. With the tying run on second, Vista pitcher Andrew Lucio, who relieved starter Matt Majeski in the fourth inning, induced a ground out to Rodriguez at first base to end the game. ?It?s a big win for the program,? Seffens said. ?I don?t think I?ve ever been as nervous for a game. It?s all a big blur.? Rodriguez added, ?When we were down I was a little nervous, but I had faith we would come back.? Scolini said, ?It?s always good to come back and win a game.? Vista?s first run came in the fourth inning when Muzzi singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Rodriguez?s hit. Majeski started the game and pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hard-hit doubles in the fourth inning. Oddly enough, five of Central Catholic?s six hits were doubles. Majeski struck out two and walked one, while allowing four hits. Lucio gave up two more runs in the fifth without allowing a hit, as he hit a batter and walked the bases loaded before Central Catholic scored once on a fielder?s choice and another time on a passed ball. Lucio finished the last 3 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out two.