Hart baseball slugs way to 1st league win

Hart's Braeden McClain (22) beats the throw to Golden Valley third baseman Michael Stephan (23) at Hart on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

After suffering narrow defeats in its first two Foothill League contests, Hart took out its frustration against Golden Valley.

 Behind a strong performance from starting pitcher Ryan Carolan and contagious hitting, the Indians defeated the Grizzlies, 14-1, on Wednesday at Hart High to capture their first Foothill League victory of the season.

 “We did a lot better job today playing the game the correct way,” said Hart coach Jim Ozella. “Playing it pitch by pitch and buying into having confidence in each other. I saw a lot of good at-bats, and Carolan was outstanding today.”

Hart’s JoshCerpa (1) hits a two-run double in the fifth inning against Golden Valley at Hart on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

 Following a short outing in his last start against Valencia, Carolan delivered six quality innings for the Indians (7-3 overall, 1-2 in Foothill). The junior right-hander allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk.

 “Slow the ball game down and just one pitch at a time,” Carolan said regarding his adjustments between starts. “Go pitch to pitch.”

 Hart’s offense backed up its starting pitcher by putting up two crooked numbers on the scoreboard – seven runs in the fourth and six in the fifth.

 Third basemen Josh Cerpa went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and two runs scored, while first basemen Braeden McClain went 2-for-2 with a double and three runs scored.

 Altogether, Hart tallied 17 hits, including seven with two outs in the fourth-inning outburst.

 “Use the whole field,” said Hart left fielder Grant Thuente, who went 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double and a run, regarding Hart’s hitting approach. “We can’t be a one-dimensional team.”

 The Grizzlies (4-4, 1-2) jumped ahead 1-0 in the second inning, as Matt Broadwater’s RBI double drove in Jake Schroeder. However, that was the last hit Carolan surrendered.

 “I thought [Carolan] changed speeds really well, and that’s what kind of threw us off,” said Golden Valley coach Steve Lombardi. “It took us a little while to adjust, and in fact I don’t think we ever really adjusted.”

 Golden Valley starting pitcher Captain Kanan looked sharp through three innings and was on the brink of making it through four. Matt Elser was thrown out trying to steal for the second out of the inning, but that’s when Hart’s extensive two-out rally started, knocking Kanan out of the game.

 Both sitting at 1-2 in Foothill League play, the Indians and Grizzlies will attempt to reach .500 on Friday as they play Saugus and Valencia, respectively.

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