NEW DEAL — On Tuesday, the Ralls baseball team scored 21 runs and had 14 hits to give New Deal its first loss of the season in the 3-2A district.
In Friday morning’s rematch between the two teams, those numbers for the Jackrabbits were zero and zero.
Harley Patterson provided an outstanding performance on the mound for the Lions, striking out nine batters and leading his team to a 10-0 triumph in five innings.
Ralls had a chance to break Patterson, loading the bases in the top of the third inning.
Wearing stylish Oakley sunglasses, Patterson stripped bare and broke the deadlock, driving an inside fly and striking out the next batter to preserve New Deal’s narrow 1-0 lead.
“We just knew we had to get out on the right foot and throw the first strikes because on Tuesday we struggled with that,” Patterson said. “Certainly the wind was a big factor in this game, but we got out there, swung the bats, first pitch hits and didn’t let a lot of people up.”
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New Deal (13-4 overall, 9-1 in the district) had ample opportunity to open play early. The Lions loaded the bases in each of the first four innings, twice with fewer than two outs. Ralls pitcher Steven Salazar worked those jams each of the first three times.
“Steven came out and threw a great game,” Ralls head coach Braden Rodriguez said. “He was throwing ground balls and pop-ups, we just didn’t execute behind him. Steven did well. He did very well. … He came out, definitely showed up and kind of kept those guys under control, we had him executed behind him.”
Salazar was able to keep the ball infield for all but one batter through the first three innings – a double from Jordan Aubrey to start the bottom half of the first. In the fourth, the Lions connected on high-flying balls that the Ralls outfielders couldn’t correlate. This led to a four-run fourth inning to push the lead to 5-0, knocking Salazar out of the game due to his high pitching count.
“The kids are resilient and they know it’s always the next man,” New Deal head coach Jordan Terry said. “We don’t take a set, the next set we’re going to do our best to put the pressure on the other team and they did a good job today. They put the pressure on them every set that I wanted to. “
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With Salazar out of the game, Charles Gwinn came on as relief for Ralls in the fifth inning. Gwinn was one out from keeping the game alive until Bron Fitzgerald’s two-run brace sent the game to an early end.
“Today was not very good,” Rodriguez said. “They threw their ace and he’s tough. He’s really tough. He threw strikes and we struggled to find a barrel today. Very different from Tuesday.”
The Jackrabbits (14-8, 7-1) had some success at the base, but it came at their expense.
As a pitcher, Patterson likes to work inside the plate, challenging hitters to swing and letting his defense make plays. Seeing this after the first two innings, the Jackrabbits slid a little closer to the plate, getting knocked down three times – which was 60% of their total base runners in the game.
“You have to keep throwing the ball,” Patterson said of HBPs. “Eventually he will find the area no matter where he goes. Just let them kick the ball and the team will work behind me.”
Tyler Bigham, Aubrey and Fitzgerald each had two hits for the Lions. Patterson finished his five no-hitter innings with two walks on 91 pitches.
“He did a terrific job,” Terry said of Patterson.
The victory puts New Deal and Ralls in a tie for first place in the district standings in the loss column, despite the Lions having played two more district games than the Jackrabbits. With just two weeks left in the regular season, the teams seem on track for a dramatic end to the standings.
“We have to finish the next four games and hopefully tie those guys up and we’ll have those playoffs to determine one and two,” Rodriguez said. “We just have to get out there, be healthy and perform.”
New Deal 10, Ralls 0 (5 hostel)
Rallies 000 00 — 0 0 6
New deal 100 45 — 10 9 1
Steven Salazar and Charles Gwinn (5). Harley Patterson. W—Patterson. L—Salzar. 2B – New Deal, Jordan Aubrey, Bron Fitzgerald, Colby Henderson and Harley Patterson. 3B – New Deal, Jordan Aubrey.