WEST SACRAMENTO - senior Jack Cronin came up to bat in the sixth inning on Friday with the bases loaded and his team down 3-2 to and looking for something good to happen.
Cronin hit a Rio pitch deep for a single, bringing in the tying and go-ahead runs that proved the difference in the Broncos' 4-3 win over the Raiders at Raley Field.
"I was trying to put the ball in play and when you do that, good things can happen and it did tonight," he said.
Rio had scored first in the first inning, when catcher Mark Lyon came home on a missed throw to third base after the Raiders' Guillermo Salazar hit a double.
Rio followed that up with a run in the fourth after a single. Then Bella Vista got on the board with a one-run single in the bottom half of the inning.
With good pitching performances by Rio's Sutter McLaughlin and Bella Vista's Ryan Locke for most of the night, the game turned in the sixth inning.
McLoughlin scored for the Raiders on a passed ball at home plate to make it 3-1. Then the Broncos' Mike Phelan hit a one-run triple to make it 3-2, setting up Cronin's heroics.
"We fell behind early but I've got a good mixture of kids who didn't quit," said Bella Vista head coach Greg Olsen.
This was the fourth consecutive meeting between the two teams at Raley Field, home of the .
"They're a class act... and give us great competition every time," Olsen said. "We always look to step it up against Rio."
The Broncos got their first win of the season following a 3-1 loss to Yuba City on March 3. They next play Tuesday at Pioneer in Woodland.
"The first win's always the best to get... we've got a good team with lots of talent and we're going to take this and run with it," Cronin said.
Rio falls to 4-2 on the season, with wins over Armijo, Vista Del Lago, Montgomery and Nevada Union and the other loss at McClatchy. They next play Tuesday against Casa Roble of Orangevale.
"We pitched the heck out of it but we didn't deserve to win," Raiders coach James Wheeler said. "We made too many mistakes, which is unfortunate."
The matchup is part of the high school baseball program, where area teams face each other on the same field where Major League prospects have played. lost 2-1 to Laguna Creek of Elk Grove on March 3 and plays Davis on March 16.
"It's unreal," Bella Vista's Cronin said of the experience. "It's what you dream of as a kid, watching the River Cats and saying 'I want to play there someday.'"