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Foothill League baseball: ’Cats coast to another win

West Ranch improves to 3-0 in league in dominant fashion

Posted: March 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Two big innings, another strong pitching performance and all of a sudden West Ranch was coasting to a third straight Foothill League victory.

The Wildcats went off for four runs in the third inning and another six in the fourth thanks to a grand slam by freshman Jagger Rusconi, leading to an 11-5 win over Golden Valley on Wednesday at West Ranch High School.

“I think our offense is something that we focused on coming into the season,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.

“We’ve had better offensive production than we’ve had the past couple of years and it absolutely has to continue in order for us to have success.”

The Wildcats are now 7-1-1 overall and 3-0 in the Foothill League, which sets up a battle of the league’s last remaining unbeaten teams on Friday when West Ranch travels to play Hart.

West Ranch junior pitcher Cody Bennett kept Golden Valley off the scoreboard for the first four innings and he left the game with a 10-0 lead after striking out seven and walking just one.

“He did a great job of spotting his fastball and throwing his curveball and change-up for strikes,” Burrill said of Bennett, who picked up his third win of the season.

Golden Valley fought back by stringing together five hits to score five runs in the sixth innings, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

Joseph Garrett took the loss on the mound for the Grizzlies (2-7, 0-3), allowing 10 runs, four of them earned, off six hits.

Garrett started off well, but got into trouble in the third inning after a Golden Valley error gave West Ranch life, setting up a two-RBI single by Justin Hovis and a two-out, two-RBI double by Tyler Woldanski later in the inning.

“I think that our pitching was doing a terrific job,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “Errors opened the gate and they took advantage of them.”

In the fourth inning, the Wildcats picked up where they left off, loading the bases with the first three batters of the inning to pave the way for Rusconi’s grand slam.

It was the first home run of his high school career.

As a team, West Ranch distributed nine hits throughout the lineup. Jake Bird hit a two-RBI single in the fourth and Davis LeBarron drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Josh Heinz and round out the day’s scoring.

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