STOCKTON -- Peter Sandino stood staring at the final scoreboard.
The Golden Valley senior still couldn't believe it -- Tracy 16, Golden Valley 8.
"Baseball is a strange game," Sandino said. "You have to give credit to Tracy. They didn't give up. We didn't give up, either. Nobody in either dugout did. It was a roller coaster."
Only the best roller coasters have as many flips and turns as Saturday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff game between Tracy and Golden Valley.
Both teams slugged it out, combining to use 10 pitchers. In the end, it was Golden Valley that finally ran out of pitching.
Tracy scored eight runs in the top of the seventh inning to send GV (15-14) into an elimination game today against Lincoln at 5 p.m. at the University of the Pacific's Klein Family Field.
"We battled," Golden Valley coach Scott Solis said. "We played really well, but when it got to the end, we just ran out of pitching. But, I'm really proud of the way everyone battled."
Early on, the game was falling Golden Valley's script perfectly.
Sandino helped erase an early deficit with a two-run double high off the wall in left field to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning.
"I just saw the ball and hit the ball," Sandino said. "I shortened up and protected. He made a mistake and thankfully I didn't pop it up or something."
Golden Valley then went back to work in the bottom of the fourth inning against Tracy starter Alex Flores.
Eric Spencer and Dom Johnson hit RBI singles during a four-ran rally that put GV ahead 6-2.
Joey Cuevas had given Solis four solid innings. His only mistake was a two-run homer to Jacob Valdez in the third inning.
With the four-run lead, Solis gave the ball to his submarine sensation Ralf Vasquez.
However, the usually reliable Vasquez had an off day.
Vasquez's pitches either missed their mark or caught too much of the plate -- and Tracy made him pay. Tracy sent 10 hitters to the plate during a six-run rally that put Tracy out in front 8-6. The big blows were a two-run double by Tyler Silva and a two-run single by Robert Emerson.
"I was feeling pretty good with the six early runs," Solis said. "I wasn't as nervous as I usually am. Maybe I felt too comfortable. Ralf didn't have his usual stuff. Maybe it was me going to the well too many times.
"It was the last game of the week and we figured we could get three innings from him. It just didn't work out."
Still, GV answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth with the help of an RBI single by Matt Raggio and a Tracy error.
The seventh inning was just a nightmare for Golden Valley.
The first eight hitters reached base in the inning as Tracy turned four walks and five hits into an eight-run exclamation mark.
"Granted we lost, but we've still got one more game," Sandino said. "If we can keep swinging the bats like we did today, we'll be OK. We'll have Alex Fletcher on the mound. It's not over for us."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoffs
WHAT: Golden Valley looks to keep its season alive against Lincoln today.
WHERE: University of Pacific's Klein Family Field in Stockton.