Cavaliers walk off for first league win

(Kason Clark)

Central Valley Christian baseball pulls out a 4-3 victory over Sierra Pacific; Kelan Turner hands the Cavaliers the win with a walk off RBI single

VISALIA – Despite an 0-3 start to play in the Tri-County-Kings League, Central Valley Christian baseball is beginning to find its stride. The Cavaliers first won the Fowler Easter Classic before heading off to spring break. And in their first action after the break, the Cavaliers continued to play well when they faced Sierra Pacific at home this past Tuesday.

Early on, it looked like the Cavaliers would suffer another league loss as they fell behind 3-1. But CVC rallied to tie the game heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. After getting a pair of runners on base, Kelan Turner crushed the ball for the walk off RBI single to win, 4-3, on April 2.

“I just hit the ball as hard as I could,” Turner said. “I was waiting for my pitch, a high fastball, and I got it.”

It was the third straight contest that the Cavaliers won with a walk-off, so CVC head coach Shane Marshall knew they always had a chance despite trailing most of the game.

“There was an expectation at that point that we’re going to come back and we’re going to win the ball game,” Marshall said. “We know we’re going to do it. The guys are playing with a bit of confidence and a bit of swagger.”

The Cavaliers have now won four straight games overall to improve to 13-5 this season. As the Cavaliers have hit their stride, Turner believes they are playing well on both sides of the plate.

“Our approach has been really good at the plate and our pitchers have been getting the job done,” Turner said.

Along with extending their overall winning streak, the Cavaliers picked up their first league win to improve to 1-3 in the Tri-County-Kings League. After dropping their first three league games, it was a relief for the Cavaliers to get this win.

“This is huge. It just sets us up to play the rest of league,” Turner said. “Now we know we can do it.”

Central Valley Christian’s Bryce Cook runs the bases at home against Sierra Pacific. (Kason Clark)

Needing that league victory, the Cavaliers struck first against the Bears. After hitting a double early in the first inning, Caden Ritchie scored on a passed ball to give CVC the lead. But the Bears tied the game in the second thanks to an RBI single from Christian Flores.

The Bears then took control of the game in the top of the third. Isaac Ibarra gave Sierra Pacific the lead when he scored on a CVC error. Austin Davis then drove in another run with a single to right, making it a 3-1 deficit for the Cavaliers.

Through most of the game, the Cavaliers struggled to get going at the plate. Sierra Pacific starting pitcher Kaleb Koelewyn was in control as he had the Cavaliers out of sync at the plate.

“That kid was really good,” Marshall said. “There’s not a lot of high school pitchers that will throw a curveball three, four times in a row for a strike. Anytime that they do that, they take your hitters off of their plan.”

But Koelewyn’s pitch count grew too high and he had to be relieved on the mound. And the Cavaliers used this to their advantage in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners on base, Dominic Alvarado hit a single to center to clear the bases and tie the game.

After a couple of scoreless innings, the game remained tied heading into the bottom of the seventh. That is when Turner came through with the walk off RBI single to left to make it four straight wins for CVC. As they now look to extend their winning streak and build off their recent strong play, Marshall believes the Cavaliers just need to keep doing the hard work that has gotten them to this point.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve been playing really good baseball for two weeks,” Marshall said. “We have to understand the results are because of the process that we’re going through so we can’t abandon the process.”

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