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Shasta Splits Doubleheader with Butte in Home Finale

Knights’ ace Mike Nowak gave up four runs in his start as Shasta dropped the first game 5-2.

 

Nowak, despite a torrid four-run third inning, pitched well in six and a third innings giving up six hits and striking out six.

 

Shasta started quick in the first inning when Andrew Ratterman and Brad Lohse each hit singles after EJ Stanton flew out. Troy Duenas then stepped up and hit and RBI single to center field after Lohse was caught stealing for a 1-0 lead. Kenneth Fudge belted a single before Lance Ibesate flew out.

 

Things got messy in the third inning when Darin Schroeder hit an RBI triple to tie the game with no outs. Nowak then hit a batter before Ryan Brown hit an RBI single down the left-field line to make it 2-1 Butte.

 

Braxton Phillips bunted on to load the bases with no outs. Nowak finally got an out when Zeke Colby hit a ground ball which was thrown to home plate for the force out, but Mitch Warden hit a sacrifice fly ball to make it 3-1 Butte. The damage was done when Jake Pott hit a chopper RBI single to make it 4-1.

 

Shasta showed signs of life in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with nobody out, thanks in part to two walks and a Kenneth Fudge single. Butte College pulled their starter and then Austin Coleman hit an RBI single to right-center field to cut the deficit to 2-4; but the rally would fall as the next three Knights batters fell.

 

In the eighth inning with the bases loaded, Shasta pitcher Ryan King walked Darin Schroeder to pad the Roadrunner’s advantage 5-2. Shasta couldn’t get anything going in the latter stages of the game and it ended with Butte winning 5-2.

 

One thing worth mentioning about the Knights is that they had 11 hits and only two runs, meaning that there were nine runners left on base. This is one of the things that coach Brad Rupert has talked about throughout the season; not hitting in spurts but hitting consistently throughout the game.

 

Shasta dropped to 16-14 (6-11 GVC) after this game and Mike Nowak picked up the loss, dropping to 6-4 on the season.

Brad Lohse went 3-4 at the plate, Kenneth Fudge went 2-3, Troy Duenas wen 1-3 with an RBI and Austin Coleman went 2-4 with an RBI.

 

 

 

In the second game, the Knights were helped by an onslaught of runs and a good-enough pitching performance from Brad Lohse.

 

Shasta started fast and didn’t look back. With two outs in the first inning, Brad Lohse walked and Kenneth Fudge hit a triple all the way to the wall at left-center field to put the Knights up 1-0. Troy Duenas, the very next batter, then hit an RBI triple to left field to make it 2-0.

 

Lohse recorded a 1-2-3 second inning, striking out two batters before doing the same in the third inning thanks to picking off a runner at second base.

 

The bottom of the third inning for Shasta was business time: a five-run bombardment with no outs which was started with Steve Johnson’s first-pitch single to center field. EJ Stanton knocked him home with an RBI double. After Lohse walked, Fudge stepped up with an RBI single to make it 4-0.

 

Butte pulled their starter at this point, only for Troy Duenas to knock an RBI double just over the outstretched glove of the right-fielder Zeke Colby. Lance Ibesate hit an RBI single as well and would later score off a throwing error by third-baseman Jake Pott off of Jarin Gasset’s ground ball to make it 7-0 and put the Roadrunners in a canyon.

 

Lohse got out of a jam in the fourth inning but yielded in the fifth when Butte scored two runs on close plays at the plate with no out. Shasta responded in the bottom of the sixth when Steve Johnson hit a triple, then EJ Stanton hit an RBI double to make it 8-2.

 

Lohse helped himself with a sacrifice RBI grounder to make it 9-2, but Butte wouldn’t go away as they picked up two more runs in the next frame when Jake Pott hit an RBI sacrifice ground ball and Drake Richie hit an RBI double to right-center field to make it 9-4.

 

Butte looked for all the world like they had new life when poor base running in the bottom of the seventh resulted in Butte turning a triple play as part of many heads-up defensive plays made by the Roadrunners in both games.

 

Troy Duenas and Lance Ibesate walked to start the inning and Andrew Ratterman hit a lineout to shallow left field. What happened next was kind of a “what the heck just happened?” moment. Butte’s left-fielder threw Duenas out at second and then Ibesate was thrown out at first.

 

Coach Brad Rupert commented on this later by saying, “We sent the runners, it was a 3-2 count so we were trying to avoid a double play in case of a ground ball. But he [Ratterman] hit it right at the guy and I think the runner at first base didn’t pick up the ball, which he is supposed to do and they got us. You don’t see this very often.

 

Casey Duenas came in to pitch in the eighth inning and walked the first three batters before Braxton Phillips hit a sacrifice fly which turned into a double play when Ibesate tagged second after Travis Grossi had apparently left second base early and didn’t tag. Grossi stayed at third thinking he had tagged and Butte’s third base coach vociferously protested the call, but it stood as a double play.

Shasta scored their 10th and final run in the bottom of the eighth. Jarin Gasset ripped a line drive to left field which looked for all the world to be at least a double; somehow the sprinting Braxton Phillips caught up with the ball and a made a diving catch that should have been featured on Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays. Devin Short came in to pinch hit and walked to get on first. After Short had stolen second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Steve Johnson hit an RBI single to send him home for a 10-5 lead.

 

Zach Larsen came in to pitch for the Knights and shut down the Roadrunners to secure the sweep and improve the Knights to 17-14 and 7-11 in the GVC. The win broke a streak of seven straight losses; “It feels so good to win, you don’t know how long it’s been” said Knights right-fielder Kenneth Fudge.

 

Brad Lohse pitched seven innings, giving up nine hits and four earned runs while striking out three, and also had an RBI and two runs at the plate.

Steve Johnson went 3-5 with an RBI and two runs, EJ Stanton went 2-5 with 2 RBI and two runs, Kenneth Fudge went 3-4 with 2 RBI and two runs (Fudge in both games finished 5-7 with 2RBI..not a bad day overall), and Troy Duenas stayed hot with a 2-3 day with 2 RBI and a run.

 

The Knights are not mathematically out of playoff contention, but it is not in their own hands. According to Coach Rupert, it depends on what Butte and Siskiyous do along with the Knights having to take care of business on the road at Lassen next weekend.

 

Rupert thinks it will come down to the last game of the year to see if the Knights make it to the playoffs; hopefully Shasta can pull the rabbit out of the hat. If they do that, well then who knows.

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