Baseball split with Etna was big for Weed Cougars

Steve Gerace
James Brunello pitched the Weed Cougars to a 3-2 victory over Etna in the second game of a Shasta Cascade League doubleheader April 14, 2015 at Son's Park in Weed.

The Weed High School baseball team showed its resiliency by bouncing back from an 11-1 loss to defeat Etna 3-2 in the second game of a league doubleheader Tuesday at Son’s Park in Weed.

Weed secured the split on a bases loaded play at the plate for the final out. Catcher Jacob Turner blocked a ball in the dirt, ran and got it, then shoveled it to pitcher James Brunello who tagged out an Etna runner trying to score.

The Cougars also defeated Etna at the American Christian Tournament in Redding March 27. Other than that, the 14-6 Lions have only lost to upper division teams Anderson, Shasta and Red Bluff.

Tuesday’s win “was a big deal for us,” said Weed coach Josh Oates. He praised the work done by battery mates Brunello and Turner as a key to the victory.

Oates said Turner “blocked every pitch in the dirt,” which gave Brunello added confidence throwing low sinking pitches. The result was more than a dozen strikeouts.

Weed scored the run that proved to be the winner without a hit. Oates said senior Tyler Bertolucci struck out but reached base when the pitch got past the catcher. He then stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball by freshman Colton Bertolucci. Sprinting to first base, Colton was safe when the first baseman dropped the put-out throw, and Tyler scored.

Weed also scored a run on an RBI single to right by senior Eric Antonucci, who was batting number eight in the lineup.

Oates said his team’s win following their 11-1 loss in game one was an indication that anything can happen in this year’s SCL.

"We were flat in the first game, but came out with a lot of energy for game two," Oates said. "The whole atmosphere changed."

Going into Friday’s games, Etna, Fall River and Burney were all 3-1 in league and Weed, Mount Shasta and Modoc were all 1-1.

Trinity was 0-6, having lost twice to the three top teams by a combined score of 78-5.

Weed is scheduled to play at Burney Friday and at home against Mount Shasta Tuesday, April 21.