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West Ranch baseball back on track

Wildcats win second straight after opening league play with two losses

Posted: March 22, 2013 10:36 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:35 p.m.

The West Ranch Wildcats didn’t panic after losing their first two Foothill League games.

They didn’t panic after falling behind by two runs on Friday either.

Instead, West Ranch ace Cody Bennett settled down and eventually got just enough run support as the Wildcats beat the Hart Indians 3-2 at West Ranch High School.

“He got better as the game went on,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill of Bennett. “Early on, he struggled to throw pitches for strikes and by the end of the game he was at his best.”

Bennett pitched all seven innings and struck out nine while allowing the two runs, one earned, off three hits.

The Wildcats (6-3 overall, 2-2 Foothill League) trailed 2-0 after three innings until they strung together a three-run rally in the fourth to set the final score at 3-2.

“We had opportunities to make it 3-0, 4-0,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “Right now, we’re in that situation where it would really help us to get that (lead).”

Instead, West Ranch took the upper hand off a Brandon Silva RBI single to scored Jake Bird followed by a two-RBI single by Jagger Rusconi two batters later.

Rusconi’s hit, which helped him to a 2-for-3 day, brought home Silva and Nick Ruffino.

The win for West Ranch is a second straight after opening Foothill play with two losses in a row.

“We think anyone that comes out of the first five (league) games with at least a couple of wins is a serious contender to win league,” Burrill said.

Meanwhile, Hart (5-6, 1-3) has to stomach its second one-run loss to a league opponent this season following a 10-inning, 5-4 loss to Saugus on March 13.

“We’ll have to keep plugging away and find more ways to come out on the other side of it,” Ozella said.

Indians sophomore Dayton Provost scored the first run of the ball game on a Nick Valaika groundout in the first.

Valaika would later single home Colby Kaneshiro in the third to make it 2-0.

Hart had a chance to extend the lead in the fourth, when it had runners on second and third with one out.

But Bennett got out of the jam with a groundout and a strikeout.


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