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Foothill baseball: Canyon does it again

Cowboys top Hart for second time

Posted: April 30, 2010 11:10 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.
After nearly two years, Canyon High baseball is on a Foothill League winning streak.

By defeating Hart 5-3 on Friday at Canyon High, the Cowboys earned their first back-to-back league wins since May 7 and 9, 2008 when they defeated Golden Valley.

"It's about time," said Canyon junior catcher Patrick Roxbury. "We've had many chances to win games at home in the past, but we're finally starting to finish games strong like we did today."

Canyon (6-15-1, 2-9) was led by senior pitcher Thomas Kratky, who needed 101 pitches in seven strong innings for the complete-game win. Kratky allowed only three runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out seven batters.

"Pretty much all my pitches were effective today," Kratky said. "My offspeed, my curve and my fastball were all working for me when I needed them. I was able to mix them all up today to keep Hart off-balance."

Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer was also impressed with his senior right-hander's repertoire.

"I told (Kratky) after the first inning to slow down and enjoy it," Schulhofer said. "Kratky is so competitive that he sometimes rushes things because he can't wait to make the next pitch. Once he settled down, everything worked fine for him."

Kratky especially had to bear down in the top of the seventh inning when he found himself up 5-3, but in a bases-loaded jam with only one out. At that point, Roxbury consoled Kratky on the mound.

"I told Thomas that this is why you're here, this is where you want to be," Roxbury said.

Kratky gathered himself on the rubber, and then got Indian senior outfielder Nolan Simons to line out to second base for the second out. Moments later the game was over when Kratky forced Hart junior Kevin Bailey to ground out to first baseman Alex Banta.

It was a disappointing week for Hart (11-11, 5-6), which dropped two games this week to rival Canyon, and fell a game behind Saugus High (6-5 in league) for the third automatic playoff spot in the Foothill League.

"It's back to basics for us," said Hart head coach Jim Ozella said. "We couldn't throw strikes and we walked the leadoff batter too many times. We allowed three runs by not being able to catch and throw the ball, once at home plate and once at second. Our offensive approach also wasn't very good.

"But give (Canyon) credit. They came to play today and seemed to want it a little more than us today."

It looked like it might be Hart's day to shine in the third inning when a double by Simons tied the game at two runs apiece. Simons gave the Indians a 3-2 lead moments later when he scored from third on a wild pitch from Kratky, but that's the last time Hart would score.

Canyon took a 4-3 lead in the bottom half of the third inning when Hart shortstop Patrick Valaika stretched to make a diving stab on a ground ball, only to throw the ball away, allowing Canyon to score two runs. Canyon got some insurance in the bottom half of the fourth when junior Grant Westerson drove in the Cowboys' fifth run on a double to right field.

"That was a huge hit for Westerson," Schulhofer said. "He's got a great swing, and he's recently won a starting job by getting some hits. I'm really happy for him."

Hart continues its push for a playoff spot next week when it plays a pair of games with West Ranch High. Canyon will play two games against Golden Valley High.


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