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Friday, June 21, 2024

Seniors pace Taft to season-opening baseball win over Toledo

Kam Kessler
Taft starter Kam Kessler deals to the plate Thursday against Toledo at the Pit. (Photos by Justin Werner)
Bleiz Kimbrough fields a popup at first base

Kam Kessler and Bleiz Kimbrough combined on a three-hitter and fellow senior Cody Knott drove home two runs Thursday as the Taft High baseball team opened its season with a 4-3 home victory over Toledo.

“This was our first game of the year and it showed,” Taft coach Matt Hilgers said. “We had some of the typical first-game jitters. We made a few errors that we will need to clean up that are out of character for us. Mentally, we just didn’t have the right approach for tonight’s game.”

Taft broke a 3-3 tie following a three-run third inning by the Boomers with the game’s winning run in the bottom of the fifth off starter and loser Jaxon Rozewski.

“We found a way to get a win when we did not play our best baseball,” Hilgers said. “Sometimes, you just have to scrap and hope you find yourself on the winning side and that is where we were tonight. We were happy to win, but we understand we need to get better in order to compete at a higher level moving forward. We will be addressing some of our weaknesses in the near future and look to start playing towards our potential.”

Taft scored twice in the first inning and once in the fifth to make a winner of Kimbrough, who struck out six in three innings of relief of Kessler, who left with a one-hitter in the fifth.

Kessler Kimbrough

Knott doubled for the game’s only extra-base hit, while senior outfielder Tyee Fisher had a single and an RBI and junior catcher Eli DeMello a single and scored a run for the Tigers.

“We got the win, but we’re not satisfied,” Kessler said. “We’re going to have to work hard in practice. Everybody’s gotta get on the same page.”

Taft returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Santiam Christian.

Kam Kessler pitches as Bleiz Kimbrough holds a runner on.
Taft 4, Toledo 3
TOLEDO               AB  R  H BI  TAFT              AB  R  H BI
Coren Loper           3  1  0  0  Darius Smith       2  2  0  0  
Mason McAlpine        2  1  1  0  Eli DeMello        3  1  1  0  
Donovan Villanueva    3  0  0  0  Cody Knott         3  0  1  2  
Marcus Cross          4  1  0  0  Kam Kessler        1  0  0  0  
Ashton Retherford     3  0  0  0  Tyee Fisher        3  0  1  1  
Bubba Barnhart        1  0  0  0  Trenton Hall       3  0  0  0  
Ryder Smith           2  0  1  0  Trenton Fisher     2  0  0  0  
Spencer Tower         3  0  0  0  Bleize Kimbrogh    3  0  0  0  
Jaxon Rozewski        3  0  1  0  Jordan Hall        2  0  0  0  
                                   Fco Ramos         0  0  0  0  
                                   Ethan Thomas      0  1  0  0  
TOTALS               24  3  3  0  TOTALS            22  4  3  3

TOLEDO                    003 000 0 -- 3  
TAFT                      201 010 x -- 4  

LOB--Toledo 7, Taft  4. E--Donovan Villanueva,
Marcus Cross, Bleize Kimbrogh, Eli DeMello, Cody Knott.
2B--Cody Knott. HBP--Mason McAlpine, Coren Loper.
SACB--Donovan Villanueva. SB--Donovan Villanueva, Mason
McAlpine, Jaxon Rozewski, Kam Kessler, Darius Smith.

 TOLEDO                       IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Jaxon Rozewski (L)             5    3    4    3    3    5    0
Mason McAlpine                 1    0    0    0    1    1    0
Kam Kessler                    4    1    3    0    4    2    0
Bleize Kimbrogh (W)            3    2    0    0    0    6    0

PB--Ashton Retherford, Eli DeMello. WP--Jaxon Rozewski (4).
SO--Ryder Smith, Donovan Villanueva (2), Marcus Cross (2),
Spencer Tower, Bubba Barnhart, Coren Loper, Bleiz Kimbrough,
Trenton Hall (2), Trenton Fisher, Jordan Hall (2). BB--Ryder
Smith, Mason McAlpine, Bubba Barnhart (2), Kam Kessler (2),
Trenton Fisher, Darius Smith.

Tiger baseball

Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.


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