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Hart baseball finds winning recipe

Posted: March 19, 2014 9:17 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2014 9:17 p.m.

The Hart High baseball team celebrates after Cody Miller (20) hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning against Canyon on Wednesday at Canyon High School.

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Hart High’s trend of playing tight ball games and relying on pitching looks like it might be carrying over from last season.

That formula will be just fine with the Hart Indians as long as it keeps yielding results like Wednesday’s Foothill League opening 2-1 win over the defending co-league champion Canyon Cowboys at Canyon High School.

Hart junior pitcher Jack Ralston allowed an earned run off three hits in six strong innings and his catcher Cody Miller assisted with the go-ahead two-run home run in the sixth inning.

“It was a good game all around,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “We took advantage of a mistake by (Canyon) and Cody got a good pitch to hit.”

Both of Hart’s runs were unearned off Canyon pitcher Blake Leidholdt, who was nearly unhittable the rest of the game.

With two out in the sixth and Canyon leading 1-0, Hart’s Austin Russ reached first base when the exchange from Canyon first baseman Vincent Fitzgerald to Leidholdt was fumbled.

On the very next pitch, Miller cranked a fastball over the fence in straightaway center field to give the Indians (7-0-1 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) the lead and continue their hot start to the year.

“I was looking for that pitch over the plate and looking to get it done,” said Miller, who finished 2-for-3 on the day and recorded his first home run of the season.

It was one of just three hits Leidholdt gave up in the game. He struck out six and pitched all seven innings of the game.

“That’s how thin the margin is in these league games,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer.

The Cowboys (4-4, 0-1) scored their run on Christopher Jenkins’ RBI single in the third inning to bring home Austin Ragusin.

The game remained that way for a while as both starting pitchers dug in and kept the offensive output to a minimum.

It was Ralston who came out ahead after he won the league-opening starting job thanks to a stellar start to the season. His ERA is now 0.74 through 19 innings.

“He’s making strides on the mound,” Ozella said of the junior right-hander. “He’s done nothing but pitch well all year.”

Troy Gilbert picked up the save for the Indians after pitching a clean seventh inning.


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