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Creative memories: Raggio comes up big with GV in a 'pinch'

Matt Raggio has had a couple memorable moments this year.

There was the fourth game of the football season when, as a defensive lineman, the Golden Valley junior scooped up a fumble and scored a touchdown.

The second moment came Friday night, when Raggio belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer deep over the left-field fence to break a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning and help propel Golden Valley to a 6-5 win over Merced in front of a large crowd at Merced High.

"It's been a pretty good year," Raggio said. "I've had some lucky moments. My first high school home run. It felt pretty good."

It was an especially good night for Golden Valley.

With a spot in the playoffs already secured, GV coach Scott Solis emptied the bench.

Golden Valley sent 17 different batters to the plate.

"We wanted to get everyone in," Solis said. "All our guys that have played all year are going to play Wednesday (in the playoffs).

"This was our last chance to get all our guys in this year. We couldn't hurt ourselves.

"It was nice to see some of those guys get some big hits."

One of those hits came from Garrett Perez, who delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single that tied the game at 4-4 in the fourth.

Raggio then deposited a 3-2 fastball from Merced's Alex Alvira over the fence for a 6-4 lead.

"I didn't even feel the ball hit the bat," Raggio said. "It was all sweet spot."

With the lead cut to 6-5, GV appeared to have added an insurance run when Peter Sandino crushed a ball over the fence in the sixth inning.

However, after an appeal Sandino was called out for not touching home plate.

Ralf Vasquez, who came in to save Tuesday's playoff-clinching win, pitched the final four innings to get the win.

It was another large audience as the two schools honored former Merced players Brian and Kevin Nannini, who died in a boating accident five years ago.

The Brian and Kevin Nannini Foundation handed out 15 $300 scholarships to seniors on both teams before the game.

At Merced

GOLDEN VALLEY 010 140 0 -- 6 6 4

MERCED 022 010 0 -- 5 6 3

Kyle Potter, Ralf Vasquez (4) and Alex Fletcher, Peter Sandino (4); Alex Alvira, Kyle Bettis (5) and Greg Ross. WP -- Vasquez. LP -- Alvira.

GOLDEN VALLEY -- Matt Raggio (HR, 2 RBI), Sergio Gutierrez (2B, RBI), Sandino (3B).

MERCED -- Brian Vasquez (2B, RBI, 2 Runs), Ricky Franklin 3-4, Brandon Garcia (2B, RBI).

Records: Golden Valley 9-3 CCC, 17-9 overall; Merced 6-6, 12-15.

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