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West Ranch baseball back on top

Big hitting day helps West Ranch win fourth straight league game

Posted: April 10, 2013 10:15 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2013 10:15 p.m.

West Ranch third baseman J.D. Krauskopf scoops up a grounder with his bare hand at Canyon High School on Wednesday.

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The surge back to the top continued for the defending Foothill League champion West Ranch Wildcats baseball team.

After opening league play with two straight losses, the Wildcats tagged the Canyon Cowboys for 16 hits on Wednesday at Canyon High School, winning 13-8 to move into a four-way for the Foothill’s top spot.

“The momentum is great,” said West Ranch senior J.D. Krauskopf of his team’s fourth straight league victory. “We’ll ride it all the way into Friday.”

On Friday, the final and deciding game of the three-game series will be concluded between these two teams.

Though Wednesday’s game was originally scheduled to take place at West Ranch High, an issue with the field caused the game to be moved to Canyon.

That means Friday’s game will take place at West Ranch.

Regardless of the field situation, West Ranch (10-6 overall, 4-2 Foothill League) came out swinging the bats well and continued to do so throughout the day.

The Wildcats broke the game open after bringing 11 batters to the plate in a six-run, five-hit second inning which gave them an 8-1 lead.

“We had some big hits to score our runners and that’s been something we’ve been trying to do,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.

West Ranch continued to build on its lead, scoring a run in third inning, two in the fourth and another one in the fifth to take a 12-1 lead before Canyon strung together a late rally.

J.D. Krauskopf went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs and he turned in an excellent defensive day at third base, making two impressive bare-handed plays to throw two Canyon players out at first.

The Wildcats also had to make a series of running catches in the outfield to keep Canyon at bay.

“I thought our defense really kind of won the ball game for us,” Burrill said.

Tony Slauson also had a big day hitting for West Ranch, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. That included a bases-loaded single that drove in two runs in the second.

Jagger Rusconi also added three hits on the day for the Wildcats and he knocked in a pair of runs with a single in the fourth.

Most of the runs were scored off Canyon pitchers Blake Leidholdt, who started, and Jon Dicey, who pitched the second through the fifth inning in relief.

“It was only a matter of time for them,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer. “They’ve been in position to score a lot and it was only a matter of time for them to start scoring some runs.”

The last time the two teams played on the league opener on March 13, Canyon won 13-4 despite 15 hits from West Ranch.

But despite the early deficit, the Cowboys (12-6, 4-2) didn’t go away. They scored three runs in the fifth and added four in the seventh off West Ranch reliever Brandon Silva.

For Canyon, Chris Serrano and Justin Stark both had a pair of hits and two RBIs apiece and Max Weinstein finished 3-for-5 with two runs.

“We wanted to show West Ranch that they’ve still got to worry about us,” Serrano said of the late rally.

Friday’s matchup will feature both teams’ aces as West Ranch’s Cody Bennett and Canyon’s Weinstein will start on the mound.

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