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Defense helps Timberwolves top Atwater
John Waggy fires in a pitch for Sierra Thursday against visiting Atwater. The T’Wolves won 6-4 agains the Falcons. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Sierra High can be proud of several things after its 6-4 non-league victory over the Atwater Falcons, but superb defensive play will likely reign supreme after a clutch catch from centerfielder Kenny Leasure wrapped up the Timeberwolves’ second win in two days.

Leasure stalled Atwater’s comebackvictory bid when he hauled in a spectacular catch after a 40-yard sprint, clipping the Falcons chances at a seventh-inning comeback.

Sierra (2-0) punched back instantly after Atwater plated a run in its half of the first inning, retaking the lead when the Falcons botched a pair of groundball attempts after Leasure and Dylan Debrouwer reached base on a single and double, respectively.

Sierra got things going with an all-business approach at the plate. Leasure smashed the first offering he saw for a base hit; Debrouwer went opposite field for a double and both John Waggy and John Perez took advantage of their RBI opportunities by putting hard-hit balls in play.

“I thought our approach, early in the game especially, we let the ball travel and hit it the other way,” Sierra head coach Jack Thomson said. “Late in the game we didn’t do as well, but it is a work in progress.

“We’re young and this is all new to them, so it’s going to take a while.”

Sierra used more of the same in the bottom of the second, starting the inning off with a first-pitch double from Steven Detmers. Detmers would advance to third on a groundout from Joey Valencia, and eventually score on Waggy’s second RBI of the contest.

Atwater put together a mini-rally in the top of the third, sandwiching a runner advancing groundout between two Falcon singles. The run cut Sierra’s lead to 3-2 and gave Waggy his second scenario to work out of.

He would do a quality job in keeping the Falcons’ production to a minimum before giving way to the Timberwolves bullpen. Bryce Willis came on first to set the tone, before handing the ball over to Valencia for the close.

Willis came in and struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches. Atwater would then get a runner on from a two-strike single before Chase Moorehead lined a ball in the left-center gap that would seemingly tie the game.

Leftfielder John Davis had other plans, leaving his feet for a splendid over-the-shoulder diving catch and protecting Sierra’s 3-2 lead. The lead would only stand for a moment as Atwater finally got to Willis in the fifth, touching him for three hits, two of which came after getting two outs, and taking a 4-3 lead.

Sierra wasted no time getting the lead back getting the first two batters on via walks and getting a huge error from Atwater on a botched bunt attempt that tied it up. Detmers pushed Sierra up for good going back up the middle for his second hit of the game.

Defense would have to close the door on Atwater when the Falcons got the tying run to the plate and Leasure tracked down a Blake Hughes rocket, making a game-saving catch at the bottom of the centerfield wall. Valencia would get a grounder to third to seal the deal.

“We’ve always told our players you win by making plays,” Thomson said. “Whether it’s at the plate you make a play, whether it’s on the mound you make a play and Kenny made a great play. That’s what we talked about, that you win games by making plays.

“That was a game changer, but Kenny works hard every day and there is a reason why he made that play; it’s not an accident.”

Sierra will try and make it three straight when they make the trip to Modesto Tuesday to take on the Johansen Vikings.