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West Ranch rallies in seventh for win

Posted: April 30, 2014 10:27 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2014 10:27 p.m.

Nothing seemed to be going right for West Ranch baseball in the first six innings.

Everything went right in the seventh though, and that was all that mattered.

The West Ranch Wildcats rallied for three runs in the final inning and beat the Hart Indians 4-3 on a walk-off wild pitch on Wednesday at West Ranch High School.

The wild seventh inning ended when, with runners on second and third, Chad Haslock’s pitch to Cade Spurlin scooted behind home plate and allowed Chase Malynn to score the winning run.

As a result, West Ranch and Hart both shift into a four-way tie for first place in the league standings along with Valencia and Saugus.

“We’ve all said this will come down to the last game of the season,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “This gives credence to that type of statement.”

The Wildcats (14-7 overall, 7-3 Foothill League) were down 3-0 to Hart after five innings with pitcher Jack Ralston locking down West Ranch hitters.

Ralston ended up going 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run. He struck out three and walked two while allowing six hits.

In both the fifth and sixth innings, West Ranch left the bases loaded with nothing more than one run in the sixth inning to show for it.

Headed into the seventh, the Indians (16-4-1, 7-3) led 3-1.

“It just seemed like all the cards were stacked in the favor of Hart,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.

But that changed in a hurry when Jagger Rusconi and Jake Spurlin led off the seven inning with back-to-back singles. Nick Ruffino moved both runners along with a bunt, which set up Davis LeBarron’s two-out, game-tying single three batters later.

On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, LeBarron swung and chopped the ball high in the air and just over the head of Hart third baseman Leif Vera.

Rusconi and Jake Spurlin both scored on the play, tying the game at 3-3.

“Welcome to baseball,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “We thought we made a decent pitch. Give the guy credit. He hit a chopper over the third baseman’s head.”

West Ranch’s Jake Bird was the pitcher of record as he went the distance and allowed three runs off four hits while striking out 11 and walking none.

His only blemish was the fourth inning, when he gave up a double to Ralston and a two-run home run to Haslock later in the frame.

Bird also gave up an unearned run in the fifth when Dayton Provost plated Wes Fitzpatrick on a sacrifice fly.

Hart has now lost two of its last three league games.

“We were one pitch away from winning,” Ozella said. “You’d like us put ourselves in that position again. We hope to try to put ourselves in position again on Friday.”


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