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West Ranch baseball's Bennett counters Valencia

West Ranch’s Bennett goes eight; Krauskopf hits walk-off

Posted: April 19, 2013 10:53 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2013 10:53 p.m.

West Ranch pitcher Cody Bennett pitches to Valencia on Friday at West Ranch High.

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After watching Valencia’s top starting pitcher J.D. Busfield pitch the Vikings back into a share of first place in the Foothill League standings on Wednesday, it was time for West Ranch’s ace to respond.

Behind Cody Bennett’s complete-game performance and JD Krauskopf’s walk-off double, the West Ranch Wildcats baseball team defeated the Valencia Vikings 3-2 in extra innings Friday at West Ranch High.

“I knew it was going to be a close game, and that I needed to pitch my best game of the season,” Bennett said. “That’s exactly what I did.”

Valencia (13-8 overall, 5-4 Foothill League) defeated the Wildcats 6-0 on Wednesday behind Busfield’s complete-game shutout.

But Friday was all about West Ranch’s ace returning the favor.

After being roughed up for six earned runs in a loss against the Vikings earlier in the season, Bennett picked up a win on Friday as he recorded eight strikeouts over eight innings, with two earned runs.

“Bennett pitched an outstanding game, but I thought we competed great,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder. “We had opportunities and chances with guys in scoring position, but couldn’t get the big hits.”

The senior and Sonoma State commit limited Valencia’s scoring opportunities throughout as he scattered four hits over the first six innings and stranded runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings.

“He threw an incredible game and was in command of all of his pitches,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “He attacked the strike zone and got ahead in the count.”

West Ranch (12-7, 6-3) took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Kyle McGraw in the fourth inning, and extended its lead to 2-0 on a solo home run by Jordan Benty in the bottom of the sixth.

The runs were scored on Valencia’s starting pitcher Luke Soroko, who finished with four strikeouts and two earned runs over six innings of work.

Valencia finally broke through against Bennett in the top of the seventh as it tallied four hits and two runs in the inning to extend the game.

Ryan Eaton scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 2-1, then a two-out single by Chris McCready down the third-base line tied the score.

Bennett returned to the mound in the eighth, retired the side in order and gave his team a chance to win.

Following Jagger Rusconi’s leadoff single, Krauskopf smacked a double in the gap in left-centerfield to bring

Rusconi home for the 3-2 victory and avoid the season sweep against Valencia.

With the win and Canyon’s win over Hart, the Wildcats remain tied with the Cowboys for first place in the Foothill League.

Valencia currently sits tied with Saugus for second place, just one game behind the leaders.

The Vikings will be in action next week against Hart, while West Ranch plays Golden Valley.

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