By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
It was a dramatic conclusion to a game between two rivals Saturday in Magrath, as the Zeniths escaped with a 6-5 win over Cardston in Southern Alberta High School Baseball league play.
A walk-off groundout proved to the difference. The game was tied at five with Magrath at bat in the bottom of the eighth when Jaxon Gruninger grounded out, which scored one run. That proved to be the difference, after John Jones pitched a clean top of the eighth to put the Zeniths in position to win it.
Cardston took an early lead in the second inning and after the Cougars scored one run in the top of the fourth, Magrath answered with one of their own. Cardston scored when Baxter Mason singled off of Sam Noad, driving in one run. Magrath Zeniths then answered when John Jones singled off of Ty Schaffer, driving in one run.
Cardston knotted the game up at five in the top of the seventh inning. With no one out in the seventh inning, Schaffer drove in one run with a single.
Magrath scored four runs in the sixth inning, as the Zeniths plated one on a groundout by Jones, and added more on a single by Noad, a single by Dustin Roe and a single by Levi Gruninger.
Noad earned the win for Magrath, as he pitched seven innings, allowed five runs, nine hits and struck out four. Jones recorded the last three outs to earn the save for Magrath. Garrett Nish took the loss for Cardston, as he threw two innings.
Schaffer started the game for Cardston, as he threw five innings, surrendered one run, two hits, struck out seven and walked one.
Jones led Magrath with two runs batted in, as he went 2-for-4 on the day.
The Zeniths didn’t commit a single error in the field, as Noad had six chances in the field, the most on the team. Taylor Cook led Magrath Zeniths with two stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with six stolen bases.
Cardston Cougars had ten hits in the game. Mason, Schaffer, and Zach Bennett each collected multiple hits for Cardston Cougars.
Earlier in the day, Magrath took an 18-4 win over Highwood, despite a rough start on the mound from Pacen Blackmore, who walked seven and gave up four run in an inning and a third of work. Levi Gruninger took it from there, as he threw three and two thirds, and shut the door and he struck out four, walked two and gave up two hits.
Offensively, Levi Gruninger was 2-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Clifton was 2-4 with 3 RBI and two runs. Blackmore was 2-2 and drove in two.
The Zeniths began the season April 4 with an 8-1 win over Willow Creek. Noad, Blackmore and Jones each threw two innings, while Roe worked one inning in relief.
Jones was 2-3 at the dish with four RBI, while Roe was 1-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
In next week’s edition of The Westwind Weekly News, look for a recap of Magrath’s April 11 game against Picture Butte and the Zenith’s April 12 contest against Kainai.