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Prep baseball: West Ranch rounds it out

Wildcats match their strong pitching with stellar hitting effort

Posted: March 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch’s Josh Heinz hits an RBI double in the sixth inning against Canyon on Tuesday at Canyon High School.

 

Up until Foothill League play began, West Ranch baseball was a team that relied on pitching.

Now, it appears to have the bats to match.

The Wildcats tallied their highest run total of the season in a 12-2 rout of Canyon on Tuesday at Canyon High in a game that was moved up one day in anticipation of poor weather.

West Ranch’s previous high came in an 8-6 loss to Saugus in Friday’s league opener.

“Offensively, the last two games have been as good as we’ve been all year,” said Wildcats head coach Casey Burrill.

A stellar pitching performance didn’t hurt either, as starter Ryan Keller allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.

The senior attacked the strike zone early and often, getting several batters to strike out looking for Canyon (4-5, 0-2).
For the first three innings, West Ranch (4-4, 1-1) appeared to be in a pitcher’s duel with Canyon’s Taylor McLaughlin, who allowed one run through three.

He began to struggle locating his pitches, though, and the Wildcats’ lineup came alive, extending a 1-0 lead to a 6-0 advantage off six hits.

McLaughlin was credited with five earned runs in his outing, which ended after 3 1/3 innings.

Cowboys head coach Adam Schulhofer said the problem wasn’t the pitching.

“Scoring runs,” Schulhofer said of the hitting issues. “Still scoring runs. If teams are going to put up 12 runs against us, we’ve got to do something to stay with them.”

In all, the Wildcats had 16 hits, with every member of the lineup getting at least one.

J.C. Cloney hit the lone home run for West Ranch, a solo shot to straight-away center field in the sixth to add to his 3-for-4, two-RBI day.

Canyon scored both its runs in the seventh inning.

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