A baseball team’s third batter is typically the best all-around hitter and is the most trusted among his coaches and teammates.
Silverado’s Vincent Taormina epitomizes that assertion.
When he came to the plate in the top of the seventh inning Friday with the bases loaded and two outs in an 8-8 tie, there was little to no doubt he would deliver.
The junior drove Paul Wolfram’s 2-1 fastball to right center for a bases-clearing double to give the Skyhawks an 11-8 lead over Palo Verde heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
James Skelly came in for the save to make that score stand and give the Skyhawks their second victory in two days in the Bengal Varsity Tournament.
“You wouldn’t draw it up any other way,” Silverado coach Brian Whitaker said. “We’ve got some guys in our lineup that we like seeing in those situations, and Vince is definitely a guy we want there. He’s only a junior, but he’s a three-year varsity starter. He’s a veteran.”
Trailing 8-7 in the top of the seventh, Skelly started the Skyhawks’ rally with a one-out single.
Alex Grafiada hit a two-out double to move Skelly to third before Dillon Johnson was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Then senior Nick Kawano tied the game with an RBI single before Taormina’s game-winning hit.
Taormina finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and Kawano added three RBIs for Silverado. Johnson had three singles and three runs from the leadoff spot.
“I just wanted to be big for my team,” Taormina said. “I needed to get a base hit, score a run and get the lead for us. I was honestly expecting a curveball because he got me on the last (plate appearance). But I read it well out of his hand and just drove it.”
Skelly got two flyouts and a groundout in his five-pitch save.
“James is a real good strike thrower for us,” Whitaker said. “He was a varsity player for us last year. He’s one of those guys that you know what you’re going to get at the end of the game. As soon as we got the lead, it was an automatic move for us.”
Freshman Michael Janosik got the win for Silverado after he got consecutive batters out in the bottom of the sixth with one out and runners on first and second.
Palo Verde’s Bradley Lewis was 3-for-5 with two triples and two RBIs. Sam Powers added two singles and an RBI for the Panthers (0-2), who led 4-0 after two innings.
Whitaker said he couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.
Added Taormina: “If we play the way we can, we’ll be tough to beat and you’ll see us really deep in the playoffs.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.