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Foothill baseball: Defensive edge

Strong play in the field lifts Wildcats

Posted: May 7, 2010 11:07 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2010 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch shortstop Randy Poe, left, bare-hands a ground ball in the first inning as teammate Hunter Hernandez looks on at Hart High School on Friday afternoon. The Wildcats beat the Indians by the score of 10-7.

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With West Ranch High trying to stay in the hunt for a share of first place and Hart battling for the final playoff spot in the Foothill League, both baseball teams needed to hit big in Friday's game at Hart High School.

Offense was definitely the story of the game, with the Wildcats collecting 13 hits to the Indians 12.

But the difference in the outcome was defense, and the Wildcats were nearly flawless, coming up with big plays and committing just one error to come away with the 10-7 win.

"Our defense played really well today," said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. "Our infield was consistent, and our pitchers came up with the big pitches when we needed them."

Ryan Keller pitched 4 1/3 innings for the Wildcats (17-7, 9-4), giving up six runs on nine hits. Allen Sarkissian gave up one run on three hits.

Hart (11-13, 5-8) went through five pitchers in the game, starting with Josh Wagner and ending with Tyler Glasnow.

"We pitched poorly from the first inning through the seventh," said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. "Our pitching just wasn't up to par."

West Ranch outfielders Nico Rusconi and Jared Ortiz each hit two singles and a double to lead the Wildcats offense. Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 24 games. He said he didn't expect the streak to last this long.

"I know it could end at any game, and that's OK," Ortiz said. "I don't want it to end, but it's been a good run."

Ortiz started the scoring for the Wildcats with an RBI single in the first inning, plating Chris Caldwell for the 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded, Dakota Hernandez cleared them with a double to the left-field fence for a 4-0 lead, but he was nailed at third trying to stretch it into a triple.

The Indians had four errors in the game, with a misplayed fly ball in left field adding on two runs for West Ranch in the second inning, and the Wildcats took a 7-2 lead.

The Indians battled back in the fifth inning to within a run at 7-6 after J.T. Barnes came home on a wild pitch.

West Ranch third baseman Josh Heinz hit a shot that bounced off the third-base bag for an RBI double in the sixth inning and an 8-6 edge.

"I'm excited about a lot of our at-bats and how our aggressiveness got us back into the game," Ozella said.
West Ranch will play Saugus on Wednesday and Friday, and Burrill said the games will be "a dogfight."

"They're just as hungry as we are," Burrill said.

Ozella said his team isn't concerned about what place they're in, they just need to get a win.

"We need to make fewer errors and start playing better," Ozella said.


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