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Hampshire puts on hitting display, downs Westminster Christian

04/02/2014, 5:45pm CDT
By Gene Chamberlain

Dillon Kuhn droved in three runs as Hampshire pounded Westminster Christian 10-3 on Wednesday.

Hampshire baseball coach John Sarna coached new Westminster coach Brance Rivera for the White Sox organization amateur Area Code games entry in 2007, so Wednesday's meeting took on the look of the mentor against the student.

It was the Hampshire hitters who delivered a real lesson, though, with a solid display of two-out hitting in a 10-3 nonconference road victory.

"We've been working a lot indoors with two-out hitting and situational hitting in general," said Hampshire's Dillon Kuhn. "So we should be pretty good. We just came through today,  yesterday (against Streamwood) we did as well."

Kuhn had two two-out run-scoring hits, the first a two-run single to right field to cap a three-run first inning. Then he had an RBI single in the three-run fourth as Hampshire assumed a 9-1 lead.

Hampshire (2-1) also had a two-out, two-run double by R.J. Consigny in the three-run second inning and a two-out run-scoring single by Trey Schramm in the fourth.

"We spent virtually four weeks indoors really focusing on hitting," Sarna said.

"Our first game (7-5 loss to DeKalb) I was a little disappointed with our performance but at the end of that game we were hitting the ball well, at the end of the second game we hit it well and the third game today we did it again.

"Against DeKalb we had runners in scoring position, we got in the right situation and just didn't execute."

Hampshire also played solid defense to back the pitching of winner Justin Rutkowski (1-0), who went five innings and struck out three while walking three and allowing seven hits. Ian Merlak had three of those hits and an RBI for Westminster.

"We made some good defensive plays behind him and the key was throwing strikes for him," Sarna said. "He struggled a little at first at that end, but he kind of figured it out later and trusted his defense."

Justin Rasmussen suffered the loss, allowing nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was burned by shoddy fielding and only five of the nine runs he allowed were earned. Merlak and Tyler Schoemann didn't allow an earned run in 3 1/3 innings of relief for Westminster (1-5), which committed eight errors.

"I thought we pitched well, we swung well, and obviously the defense wasn't there today," Rivera said. "We've been missing that one link. It hasn't been defense the whole time or pitching or  hitting, it's two of the things are on and the other thing is off.

"We've got to put all the pieces together at the right time."

Sarna said he has no doubt Rivera will get it turned around based on his past working with him. Rivera played four years for TCU, and spoke to Sarna's team after their win about his own experiences.

"These kids aspire to play at the next level and he's a terrific role model," Sarna said.

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