Central Catholic denies Barlow down the stretch
Thursday, April 25
|Central Catholic Rams|
Barlow's baseball team came close under the lights Thursday night, then accomplished the task back in primetime on its home field Saturday.
The Bruins created scoring chances in each of the last three innings, but could not punch a runner across the plate during a 1-0 loss to league-leading Central Catholic on Thursday at Walker Stadium.
Carter Loeb beat out an infield single to lead off the fifth inning. Two batters later, Kody Kjeldsen sent a line drive to left field, and a passed ball would move both runners into scoring position.
Barlow's Jaren Hunter knocked a grounder to the left side, but the Rams threw out the runner at home on the fielder's choice. A strikeout left Kjeldsen stranded at third.
"We had runners at second and third going into the heart of our lineup," Barlow coach Scott Hunter said. "Mental mistakes cost us. We didn't do the small things that we needed to win the ball game today."
The Bruins put two more on base in the sixth when Titus Dumitru hit a two-out single and pinch-hitter Dawson Northrup fouled off a pair of third strikes to draw a walk. A high fly ball to center field ended the threat.
Kanyan Wallace sent a line-drive single to center field to lead off the seventh inning, but Rams' catcher Luke Farah picked him off at first base.
"We've seen that they like to get big leads, and they go extra big on secondary leads when pitches are out of the zone," Farah said. "I saw him out of the corner of my eye and got the ball over there."
Central produced the day's only run in the third inning when Thomas Ferroggiaro sent a line drive to center field to bring in Christian Cooney.
"I didn't want to do too much, just put a nice level swing on the ball and get a line drive," Ferroggiaro said. "We carried that momentum to the defensive side, giving our team the confidence to lay out and make plays."
Barlow starter Ben Zimmerman went the distance on the mound, striking out three, while allowing only three hits.
"That's the best I've seen Ben throw," Hunter said. "He changed speeds and kept their hitters off balance."
The Bruins handed Central its first league loss Saturday with a 9-4 win in the series finale.
Barlow scored in each of the first three innings, breaking the game open 8-1 in the second inning when Jaren Hunter sent an RBI-double to right field, and teammate A.J. Pileggi-Taylor went to left field for a two-run double. Wilson Weber and Titus Dumitru also connected on run-producing hits during the rally.
Hunter finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate, while drawing a walk in his other at-bat.
Barlow pitchers Carson Jensen and Cole Peterson combined for eight strikeouts.
Central Catholic remains atop the league ladder entering this week's pivotal series against Clackamas, which sits a game back in second place. Barlow is third two games off the pace, heading into its three-game set against Sandy.
"Every game matters with seeding for the playoffs," Central's Farah said. "I have been here four years and never won league, so that's our first goal."
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, April 30, print edition.