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Canyon Cowboys baseball proves it can hit

Cowboys surprise defending Foothill champion West Ranch with offensive onslaught

Posted: March 13, 2013 9:48 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2013 9:48 p.m.

Canyon's Christopher Jenkins singles to right field in the fourth inning against West Ranch on Wednesday at Canyon High School. Jenkins was one of eight Cowboys with RBIs in the game.

All the signs were there.

One could interpret them as anger, alarm and even a little bit of embarrassment.

But West Ranch Wildcats baseball will insist, it’s too early to interpret much in a Foothill League opener.

Yet the Canyon Cowboys made some shock waves on Wednesday with a 13-4 victory over the defending Foothill champions at Canyon High School.

Canyon, which hasn’t made the CIF-Southern Section postseason since 2007, will insist, though, it’s early and no time to celebrate.

“I think we hit on a day coming off two big games where we hit the ball and we’re feeling it a little right now,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer. “We know (West Ranch’s) pitching is better than that.”

Canyon had 16 hits in the game, with eight players coming away with at least one RBI.

The Cowboys (6-2 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) have scored 75 runs this season.

They scored 105 in 27 games last year.

West Ranch used seven pitchers on Wednesday, trying to stop the bleeding, with starter Jake Bird lasting only 1 1/3 innings.

Coming into Foothill League play, the Wildcats had an undoubted ace in Cody Bennett, who was one of four pitchers used in a six-run Canyon fourth inning.

But after Bennett, West Ranch is still searching.

“I knew we had an issue not having a second arm out there, but a lot of guys got to see Foothill League action,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “The story was Canyon’s offensive production. That was the best piece of opposite field hitting I’ve seen in a long time.”

The Cowboys started early when a string of six consecutive singles in the second inning netted five Canyon runs for a 5-0 lead.

Justin Stark, who was 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the game, got it started with a run-scoring single to right field.

Max Weinstein, who was also 3-for-4 in the game, knocked in his lone run of the game to wrap up the five-run frame.

West Ranch (4-2, 0-1) got two back in the top of the third inning, when Tony Slauson followed a Canyon error with an RBI double and the ever-clutch Tyler Woldanski following with an RBI single.

Canyon’s reply came in the fourth with six runs — two coming on a double by Stark and two more coming on a triple by Chris Serrano.

“I think that’s been our problem. One big inning then dead,” Stark said of the past. “This team it’s important we keep it going and don’t stop.”

West Ranch kept Canyon starter Blake Leidholdt on the high wire throughout the game and cut the lead to 11-4 in the fifth with RBI singles from Jordan Benty and Bird, who was 3-for-4 in the game,

Canyon’s sophomore left-hander managed to limit the Wildcats, though, despite surrendering 14 hits in six-plus innings of work.

He picked off runners in the first and second innings, then faced the Wildcats’ best hitter from 2012, Jagger Rusconi, with runners on second and third and two outs in the fourth.

Leidholdt didn’t shy away from the fellow sophomore and ultimately induced an inning-ending flyout.

Canyon added two more runs in the fifth on a double steal with Micah Moyle swiping home and another RBI single by Stark.

Tension mounted between the coaching staffs in the sixth inning with one side feeling it was being piled on and the other feeling that in Foothill League play, no lead is safe.

West Ranch proved that with three consecutive singles in the seventh inning.

But junior Jon Dicey stranded the three Wildcat runners.



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