NHS sluggers take second in
by Tom Henney, contributor
The Nordhoff Ranger baseball team took a big step forward
after a dismal start to the season, knocking off Gladstone, 10-3,
and La Habra, 9-6, before losing to Troy, 7-1, in the Gladstone
First-year head coach and former Ranger shortstop Matt Cresto
finally has a healthy squad. Two-time All-CIF senior pitcher
Travis Flowers made his first start at the tournament in more
than a month, due to an early season knee injury.
A new confidence was evident early in the first round game against
Glastone, which is currently ranked fifth in CIF Division IV.
Flowers' knee held strong as he struck out four to record his
first win of the year.
Despite the Rangers' error-filled early season, Brandon Vaughan,
Joey Mele and Colin Harms executed a textbook double play against
Gladstone when Vaughan tossed the ball to Mele, who threw to
Harms for the second out.
Harms led the Rangers' defense, making a diving stop in a sharp
line drive with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to halt
a Gladstone rally.
He also made a leaping catch on a high throw from shortstop Mele
and used a backhand tag to stop another Gladstone charge in the
Senior catcher and co-captain Trevor Weedon got the Rangers going
in the second inning with a three-run homer. It was his third
homerun on the season, and the 12th of his career at Nordhoff.
Weedon scored three times.
Outfielder Bubba Quirino also scored two runs.
The Rangers' success continued the next day vs. La Habra with
Mele, Nordhoff's leading hitter this year, going three for three.
Vaughan's bat was also hot, as he went three for four with an
RBI and two runs scored.
Center fielder Brian DeAlba went three for five with two RBIs.
The biggest hit, however, came from Rob Laber. Laber, who has
not seen much action this year, came up in the bottom of the
sixth and looped a two-strike double into right field, bringing
two teammates across the plate. And when a La Habra homerun cut
Nordhoff's lead to 9-6 in the top of the seventh inning, Laber
caught the final pop up out to secure the Rangers a place in
the championship game with Troy.
However the Rangers were outplayed by a far-superior Troy in
the final game. The Rangers were held to just two hits and a
lone run in the seventh inning.
The tournament brought Nordhoff's record to 4-11 overall.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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