Hillsdale routs Rams
The Hillsdale baseball team got a solid pitching performance, contributions from up and down the batting order and strong defense as the Knights opened Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division play with an 11-2 win over visiting Westmoor.
“We were happy with today’s performance,” said Hillsdale manager Bobby Paul. “We had first-game jitters in the first inning, obviously.”
Hillsdale’s starting pitcher, Kevin Dunn, was not particularly sharp —especially in the first inning. He walked four batters in the inning, with Kevin Williams’ bases-loaded walk driving in the Rams’ first run of the game.
But Dunn settled down and other than a few bumps here and there — he walked seven batters — worked four solid innings. Dunn, along with reliever Cory Censoprano, combined to limit Westmoor to just one hit — a bloop infield single that dropped just behind the pitcher’s mound in the second inning.
“Dunn got a solid win,” Paul said. “It wasn’t what we wanted it to be but he got the job done. A win is a win.”
The way the Hillsdale offense was swinging the bat, the Knights’ pitchers didn’t have to be that fine. The Knights scored all the runs they would need in a six-run first in which they sent 11 batters to the plate and knocked out seven hits. Matt Medeiros led off with a perfect bunt between the pitcher and first baseman for a single. He stole second, went to third on Censoprano’s single and came home on a Chris Schindler single on a hit-and-run. Casey Gradwohl followed with a two-run double to the left-center field gap, Dunn drove in a run on a Westmoor error and Brett Montague capped the inning with a two-run homer to right.
“[Monday] we worked all day on hitting,” Paul said. In all, the Knights hit for the cycle as a team — both Gradwohl and Cameron Wiegand clouted triples — had eight players score at least one run and six players record an RBI.
It was Montague’s homer that got the rest of the Knights thinking long ball. Between the first and second innings Hillsdale (1-0 PAL Lake, 2-4 overall) made four straight flyouts, prompting Paul to yell, “Too many fly balls,” as the Knights failed to score in the second inning — their only scoreless inning of the game.
“When someone hits a homer, everyone gets into that mentality,” Paul said. “We’re not that kind of team.”
The third through the sixth inning showed what kind of team the Knights will be this season. They drove the ball to the gaps but also took advantage of Westmoor miscues and came through with good situational at-bats. Scott Huffington’s sacrifice fly in the third drove home Wiegand, who blasted a one-out triple to center. Hillsdale scored two unearned run in the fourth on a Zach Peper check-swing single and Censoprano’s single. Both scored when Dunn hit a routine grounder to third, but the throw to first was in the dirt.
In the fifth, Peper got his RBI, plating Medeiros, who reached first on an error, stole second and went to third when the catcher’s throw went into center field.
Pinch hitter Beau Morra was responsible for the Knights final run in the sixth. With one out, Gradwohl walked, went to second on a balk and took third on a wild pitch. Dunn walked to bring up Morra, who jumped on the first pitch he saw and hit a bleeder that didn’t leave the infield, driving in Gradwohl.
Paul said he’s not concerned about what team the Knights are playing, there is only one goal this season.
“We just want to gather wins,” Paul said. “We just want to win series.”
Nathan Mollat can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 117. What do you think of this story? Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.