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Foothill League baseball: Tone set early

West Ranch paced by homer on first pitch in first inning

Posted: May 5, 2010 10:12 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
It took just one pitch to set the tone for the entire West Ranch-Hart baseball game.

And it was the first one the Wildcats saw.

West Ranch’s Chris Caldwell took Hart starter Tyler Glasnow deep with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the first inning and the Wildcats didn’t look back, beating Hart 10-2 on Wednesday afternoon at West Ranch High.

“I just wanted to get on base or hit the ball hard if I got a pitch to hit,” Caldwell said of his homer. “It was a high outside pitch, I was looking to go right side and I took advantage.”

Caldwell’s blast sailed over the right-field wall, giving the Wildcats (16-7, 8-4) a 1-0 advantage.

Five batters later and West Ranch left the first inning with a 2-0 lead and all the momentum. But, it was the home run that was key to the game.

“That set a great tone offensively,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill of the home run. “Especially since that was the plan, to hit it to the right side. It really helped the players believe in it.”

In the second inning, West Ranch used two hits and a walk to add two more runs for a 4-0 thanks to an RBI double by Jared Ortiz and after Nico Rusconi grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Caldwell.

It was all the Wildcats needed. Starting pitcher J.C. Cloney took over from there allowing only two runs in the complete-game victory.

Cloney finished the game with six strikeouts while walking only one and allowing just four hits.

“It’s come to be pretty routine lately,” Caldwell said. “J.C. (Cloney) gives us strong performances day in and day out.”

While the Hart offense struggled to get anything going against Cloney, the Wildcat offense continually put pressure on the Indians (11-12, 5-7), who committed three errors.

In the sixth inning, West Ranch tacked on four runs, three of them on a three-run shot from Allen Sarkissian, which scored Ortiz and Josh Heinz.

“It’s great (to have an offense like that),” Cloney said. “You know if you have a bad day they will pick you up. They were very good the way they swung the bats and hopefully we can take that in to Friday and do it again.”

On the other side of the field, however, after it’s third straight loss, Hart head coach Jim Ozella made it clear where the Indians stand.

“We would expect to come in here and compete. We think if you play the game the right way you can compete with anybody,” Ozella said. “But, we didn’t do a very good job of executing and made it hard to compete. It was evident that one team played the right way out there and one didn’t.”

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