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Foothill League baseball: Hart recovers quickly

Indians’ Vogel is superb on the mound

Posted: April 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Against Valencia two days earlier, Hart senior pitcher Erik Vogel was on the wrong end of the Vikings’ game-winning home run in the ninth inning.

Consider the page turned.

Vogel finished with three strikeouts and only surrendered three hits and one walk in a 2-0 complete-game shutout on Friday at West Ranch High School to neutralize another strong start from Wildcats junior J.C. Cloney.

“I wanted revenge,” Vogel said. “I can’t get Valencia for a while longer, but I did get West Ranch.”

The right-hander retired the first 13 batters he saw and was aided by a stellar defense that was highlighted by shortstop Luke Persico’s leaping catch and Josh Brown’s sliding grab in center field, both in the fourth inning.

The Wildcats kept the pressure on and had runners in scoring position during the fifth and sixth innings, but Vogel remained calm and worked his way out of the jams.

“Today, I’m in the bullpen and my fastball wasn’t really working,” he said. “We game planned to throw first-pitch curve balls most of the time. Turns out, it worked.”

The Indians (10-2, 4-1) scored in the second inning on an RBI bunt single by catcher Steve Rosso that dropped in just behind the pitcher’s mound. The hit plated first baseman Alex Tenorio from third, whose RBI double scored Dallas Bacon in the sixth.

Vogel’s shutout was the team’s third of the season. Fellow starters Tyler Glasnow and Garrett Gooding each recorded one earlier in the season. Glasnow had his in a 2-0 win over West High of Torrance on March 15, while Gooding’s came on March 18 with a 6-0 victory over Golden Valley.

“Erik Vogel has pitched as well as anyone on our staff this year,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “I’m very fired up about him. He was composed. He didn’t flinch.”

The loss was the third for West Ranch (4-6, 1-3) in its first four Foothill League games.

While the pitching has remained a strong suit for the Wildcats, their early lack of offense has West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill concerned, he said.

“Oh, definitely,” Burrill said. “Our offense hasn’t performed well this year. Our pitching has been great, but we just haven’t gotten the run support. ... The positive thing, though, is we have only played four league games with 11 to go.

We’ve been on the other end, where we start out strong and end slow.”

Cloney entered the game averaging 9.3 strikeouts per seven innings with a 2.42 ERA. The hurler finished with four strikeouts, seven hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Michael Silva took over with one out in the sixth and forced the Indians into an inning-ending double play. Steven Farnworth pitched a near-perfect seventh inning, striking out two and giving up one hit.

“The game plan was pretty much to live low,” Cloney said. “We wanted to make sure their fast guys, Daniel Dietz and Kevin Bailey don’t get on base. I feel our pitchers, Steven, Michael and I, we did that pretty well.”

Michael Alvarez and Aaron Watkins each had doubles for the Wildcats.

Tenorio finished 3-for-3 with three doubles to lead the Indians at the plate.

“We have been hitting pretty well lately,” Tenorio said. “We just wanted to back the pitcher up. Vogel pitched well today. He was dealing. I just wanted to shorten up and get something to drive.”

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