Logan earns district victory


May 1, 2019

LOGAN — Logan’s baseball team earned a 3-2 district victory Friday against Grady/San Jon’s ace, and it was an eighth-grader who secured it for the Longhorns.

Bronchos junior hurler Chisum Rush, who is leading Class 1A in strikeouts, had a largely typical game against Logan — 12 strikeouts, one walk and five hits allowed in six innings. Rush has 87 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings this year and an earned-run average around 2.00.

But Logan eighth-grader Park Strong largely matched Rush’s performance on the mound — 12 strikeouts, five walks and five hits allowed in seven innings. He helped his cause with two hits, including a double, and drove in all three of the Longhorns’ runs.

Logan, who lost 9-3 during their previous clash April 8 against Rush, didn’t approach the pitcher differently than it had several weeks ago, coach Kyle Griffiths said.

“The difference was we got the bat on the ball a little bit,” Griffiths said. “We had a good week in practice and, defensively, we made some good plays we hadn’t been making. And our pitcher threw a lot of strikes. To be able to compete at a high level as an eighth-grader is pretty impressive.”

“For an eighth-grader to come out and do that, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Bronchos coach Jared Piepkorn said. “He’s got a bright future; he threw a lot of strikes, didn’t walk many, didn’t hit a batter. Hats off to him. We couldn’t hit him.”

Rush also has been a hard-luck pitcher this season, sporting a 2-5 record because of erratic hitting and shaky defense from a young squad behind him.

That hard luck came into play somewhat in the first inning when Skyler DeLuca singled and advanced into scoring position when the center fielder misplayed the hit. Strong then doubled to give Logan a 1-0 lead. Rush fanned the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Piepkorn said Rush left several of his pitches up in the strike zone during the inning, allowing the Longhorns to connect more easily.

“That’s somewhat typical of Chisum,” he said. “If he struggles at all during a game, it’s in the first inning. He settles down after that.”

Logan added two runs in the fifth. Colton Liles opened the inning with a single, and Rush made a bad throw to second on Mark Rose’s grounder for an error, leaving everybody safe. Dante Sanchez walked to load the bases. Strong singled, giving his team a 3-0 lead.

The Bronchos scored a run in the sixth. With one out, Teagan Watson doubled, and Nic Richardson walked. Watson was retired at third for a fielder’s choice when Strong gloved a hot shot up the middle. Tanner Phillips delivered an RBI single.

Grady/San Jon scored again in the seventh. Reagan Bone reached base on an error and advanced to third on Rush’s single, but Rush was tagged out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Bone scored on a groundout to make it 3-2, and Isaiah Mitchell singled to represent the tying run. Strong induced a groundout against Watson to end the game.

Piepkorn said after the game Rush, using an easy-throwing motion, primarily throws a four-seam fastball with an estimated speed in the low 80s and an occasional curveball. He also is developing a change-up.

“Chisum is one of those guys who gives extra time in practice and makes extra throws,” he said.

Griffiths said the only pitcher he saw comparable to Rush this season is Jaydon Stephens of Gateway Christian, the only undefeated team left in New Mexico.

In the nightcap, Logan defeated Grady-San Jon 8-2. The Longhorns improved to 4-11 and 3-11 in district play. The Bronchos fell to 2-11.

Gateway Christian 30, Logan 3

Gateway Christian, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, lived up to its billing with a 30-3 drubbing of district foe Logan on April 22.

The Warriors scored 11 runs in the opening inning and 17 in the second to seize control. Gateway Christian (12-0) had 22 hits during the game, compounded by 13 Logan errors.

Logan had just one hit — by DeLuca — against Hayden Wigley, who walked two and fanned 12.

Dora 15, Grady/San Jon 1

Dora seized a 10-0 lead after three innings during a district game April 22 at Grady.

Dora (10-2) collected nine hits and 12 walks against the Bronchos, who managed just two hits.

Dexter 18, Tucumcari 0

East Mountain 16, Tucumcari 0

Tucumcari suffered two more district losses on the road last week, extending its losing streak to 17 games.

Because of their rugged schedule, the Rattlers (1-19, 1-10) still have a small but rapidly dwindling window to earn a postseason berth. They need to earn road victories this week with their last two regular-season games at New Mexico Military Institute and Sandia Prep — both ranked in the top 10 in Class 3A — to have a chance.


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