April 24, 2007

Panthers rise to second in CVC

Wins over North Salem, Sprague and McKay lifted Redmond to 7-4 in Central Valley Conference baseball, and with two wins over North Salem (also 7-4), in control of second place in the CVC.

Cody Johnson swatted a two-run homer in the first inning and the Panthers never looked back on their way to an 11-1 win over North Salem April 18. The win lifted Redmond ahead of the Vikings into second place in the CVC standings and was their second CVC win on their home field.

"We hadn't won a league game at home until yesterday (against Sprague) and we just kind of wanted to establish that this is our park," said Horner. "I don't care what the weather is like, we just kind of wanted to establish that, which hadn't happened with West Salem and South Salem."

Tyler Rucinsky kept the Vikings off balance from the pitchers mound, throwing five strikeouts and giving up three hits in a complete game. "He only threw 74 pitches in a seven-inning game," said Horner. "That's huge in a four game week. That was the biggest thing, I thought."

Redmond added two runs in the second inning, two in the fourth and fifth and three in the sixth innings. Bubba Nault and Jared Young each swatted a double for the Panthers and Nault scored three runs.

"I thought we just played really tough - tough minded - and that comes from guys just not allowing for mistakes, mental errors, and things like that," added Horner. "We're starting to play a little tougher which is good - getting better." Horner was expecting a tough game after the Panthers defeated Sprague 7-4 in a make-up game the day before. "Tomorrow is going to be a nail biter," he said. "Another good team just like they were the first game."

Mark Shatka put up a two-run double in the first inning and the Panthers scored all seven of its runs in the first two innings and held on for the win. Shatka struck out six in the game. Mike Peplin was three for three at the plate, including a double in the fifth inning. Tyler Hilgers had two hits including a double in the second inning and Sean Maloney had two hits.

Redmond wasn't so dominant in its second loss of the season to its CVC nemesis South Salem. The Panthers gave up seven runs on two walks. A hit batter and an error in the second inning to give the Saxons a 10-0 lead after two complete innings. South Salem beat Redmond 23-9 in their previous encounter.

Horner said pitcher Tyler Hilgers left the ball up in the first and second inning, but settled down and allowed only two more runs in the next five innings.

"They play really well against us. They must not play well against other teams, or their record (3-7) doesn't show it," said Horner. Redmond battled back to score six runs in the 12-6 loss. Stephen Bigelow and Tanner Hase were two for three at the plate with two RBIs. Jared Young hit a double and Tyler Hilgers hit a home run. Monday Shatka controlled the game, striking out 13 batters on the way to a 13-1 win over McKay Monday.

Horner said Shatka threw 99 pitches in the game. "That's good with that many strike outs," said Horner. "Generally you have more pitches than that. (He had) great command. Good movement on the ball."

Redmond lit up the scoreboard in the second inning when Mike Peplin singled and then scored on a single by Tanner Hase. They took control of the game in the fourth inning when Cody Johnson swatted a three-run homer.Redmond put up a barrage in the sixth inning when Peplin and Hilgers each swatted two RBI doubles to help Redmond score seven runs in the inning. Redmond plays at Summit today and at Sprague Friday.

-- Story and photo by Gary Newman

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