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Foothill League baseball: ’Cats turn the corner

West Ranch wins second straight over GV

Posted: April 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

It is generally a coach’s hope that his or her players will use a loss into a turning point.

If its last two games are any indication, West Ranch baseball appears to have done just that.

After struggling early in Foothill League play, the Wildcats won their second game in row 11-3 over Golden Valley led by a strong start from Steven Farnworth and a 3-for-3 day from J.C. Cloney that included a three-run home run Friday at Golden Valley.

“I think we are playing our best baseball of the year,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “We’ve come back out here and are putting everything together.”

The Wildcats (9-7-1, 3-3), which began league with a 1-3 record, totaled 17 hits on the day. They were coming off a 7-3 win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday, as well as big victories over Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the Anaheim Lions Tournament during spring break.

West Ranch scored at least one run in five consecutive innings against a Golden Valley team that is capable of putting up runs in a hurry.

The Grizzlies (10-6, 2-5) put pressure on Farnworth throughout the game, but the senior remained calm and was aided by some big plays defensively.

Farnworth struck out three and gave up two runs on four hits and walk, but found himself down 1-0 in the first after senior catcher Rocky Sherwood’s single up the middle scored Anthony San Miguel from third.

Golden Valley’s runs came in the fourth when Mitchell Miller scored on a balk, and Josh Smith’s RBI single plated Ryan Alvarez in the seventh.

But by then, the Wildcats were in control.

“Everything we were throwing up, they were hitting,” said Grizzlies head coach Scott Drootin. “I’m happy with our attitude. We kept hitting, but it hurts when a team goes out and gets 17 hits.”

West Ranch scored two runs in the second inning, but the gamebreaker was the fourth.

The Wildcats scored four runs in the frame, highlighted by Cloney’s three-run shot to straight-away center field, scoring Josh Heinz and Matt Blake.

“Ever since the (Orange Lutheran) game, we have looked for our pitch, not settling with their pitch anymore,” Cloney said.
The Wildcats added one run in the fourth to make the score 7-1, and tacked on three more in the fifth after Dakota Hernandez’s ground-rule double to center field scored Aaron Smirnoff.

Cloney took over pitching in the bottom of the fifth, and went on to strike out four over the final three innings, surrendering two hits, a walk and one run.

West Ranch added its final run in the sixth on an RBI single by Ryan Keller down the third-base line.

Hernandez finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, Michael Alvarez was 2-for-4 with a triple and double, and shortstop Justin Hovis turned a slick double play to end the third. On the play, Hovis fielded the ball as he slid into second for the force out, then popped up and threw out the runner at first to highlight a standout day for the Wildcats’ defense.

Joey Anderson took the loss for Golden Valley, pitching 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits. Smith was 2-for-4, and Sherwood finished 2-for-4 with a double.

For West Ranch, Burrill attributed his team’s turnaround to improved confidence.

Farnworth agreed for the team, and for his day on the mound.

“It’s just a mental thing,” he said.

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