Kennedy batters Grant Union/Prairie City 13-0 in playoff win
It was about as picture perfect as the Kennedy baseball team could draw it up.
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Mount Angel, the Trojans routed visiting Grant Union/Prairie City 13-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2A/1A state tournament. The May 25 shoutout was Kennedy's 15th of the season, having given up just 38 runs over the course of the season thus far. That low tally is the best at not just 2A/1A, but 3A and 5A as well.
What made the playoff shoutout more impressive was that three Trojan pitchers worked in tandem to produce a no-hitter for the home crowd. Pitchers Ethan Kleinschmit, Riley Cantu and Andrew Cuff struck out a combined seven batters and produced no errors or walks in the process.
"All three of those guys looked really sharp and we got to keep their pitch counts down a little bit because the next 10 days they're going to be throwing a lot," Kennedy head coach Kevin Moffatt said. "Hopefully that plays to our advantage -- when they're throwing strikes like that it's easy to be playing defense because they know the ball's going to be put in play and the guy's area ready to go. It all kind of works."
On offense, Kennedy produced six hits and 10 RBIs to earn its 13 runs, taking advantage of walks, errors and hit batters. Junior Charlie Beyer had three runs to lead the team, and Cantu had three RBIs and two hits.
The Trojans will face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals. Kennedy (24-3) is slated to face Monroe (21-6) on Friday, May 27, after the Independent goes to press. Kennedy and the Dragons tangled on May 19, with the Trojans walking away with a 13-3 win at the time.
Going into the next round, Moffatt believes that given the success his team has had over other high ranked opponents this season, his players should be confident heading deeper into the bracket.
"I think they shouldn't be scared of anybody, that's for sure," Moffatt said. "I think we've seen a lot of really good pitching from those teams. Everybody is good … they're good baseball teams. I'm sure they're all, like Knappa, a lot better than they were when we played them the first time. But it kind of goes both ways. We didn't see Monroe's best pitcher when we played them last time, and I'm sure if we end up playing them we'll see their best pitcher. But we shouldn't be scared of anybody."
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