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18 Bulldogs strike out in playoff loss to Moniteau

| Friday, May 27, 2005

HAWTHORN — Redbank Valley's Craig Hibell couldn't get any love from his defense.

Moniteau's Nathan Markle didn't need his.

Hibell's defense committed four errors and gave up seven unearned runs while Markle totally dominated the Bulldogs lineup as he fanned 18 in the Warriors 8-1 win in the first round of the District 9 Class AA playoffs.

“He was dominating,” Bulldogs head coach Mike Brown said. “Absolutely dominating.”

Markle struck out 12 through the first four innings and the Bulldogs didn't put a ball in play until a Zach Wanninger two-out, RBI double in the fourth.

“We always play good defense when he pitches,” Moniteau head coach Arnie Trufley said.

And there is a reason for that — his 110 strikeouts on the season, a new Moniteau school record. In all, the Redbank Valley lineup put four balls into play.

“We haven't faced a pitcher all year like that,” Brown said.

Moniteau showed up to the game late because the players had to take finals and that worried Trufley.

Markle and the Warriors had about 12 minutes to prepare for the game and it appeared he wasn't ready from the onset.

Skyler Smith, the Bulldogs' leadoff hitter, drew a five pitch walk and stole second. But Markle settled in and found the strike zone as he fanned 11 of the next 13 batters he faced. He did allow six walks in the game. Markle's career best in strikeouts is 22 but it was over a two-day period and 10 innings.

With the score 4-1 in the sixth inning and still in reach for Redbank, Markle issued two free passes, one to Brandon Johnston and another to Jason Smith, with one out but buckled down and struck out Wanninger and Hibell to end the threat.

“We drew some walks but didn't finish it off,” Brown said. “Good pitching will beat good hitting.”

And Markle shut down a good hitting team. Entering the game, the Bulldogs were hitting .340. Redbank Valley left seven runner on base.

“We didn't capitalize. We didn't hit,” Brown said.

Hibell just couldn't get any help from his defense.

In the first inning, Moniteau scored two unearned on a error by second baseman Smith. Another miscue by Johnston allowed two more unearned in the third inning as Travis Shaffer belted a two-run homer.

And the wheels fell apart in the seventh with three more unearned on an error by Hibell and then a Mike Benson three-run homer.

“Defensively, I am a little disappointed,” Brown said. “It is a tough way to go out.”

In all, the Bulldogs tallied four errors.

Johnston scored Redbank's lone run in the fourth inning.

Markle struck out Johnston but reached on a wild pitch. Wanninger followed with a two-out double to right for the Bulldogs first hit and first ball in play.

Moniteau will move on and face Cranberry on Tuesday.

Top seeded Karns City, who had a first round bye, will host Brookville, who defeated Port Allegany 4-3, on Tuesday.

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