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Hair-raising Wildcats pull out another thriller

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior third baseman Taiki Ishii celebrates his go-ahead run in the ninth inning of the Wildcats 2-0 win over Sunset on Tuesday.

The cardiac ‘Cats were at it again on Tuesday night.

A week after pulling a 3-2 win from the depths of defeat against Southridge, Westview engineered a white-knuckle, nine-inning 2-0 triumph over Sunset on the wicked right arm of Kenyon Yovan and cool composure of Taiki Ishii and Keita Fabrega.

With the game stalemated at 0-0 after brilliant pitching outings from Yovan and Sunset starter Kasey Porter, Ishii led off the ninth with a double just inside the chalk along the third base line. A balk by Porter moved Ishii to third with Fabrega at the dish. Subsequently, the sophomore second baseman — who’s found a spot in the Wildcat lineup with his powerful left-handed bat and sound glove — put down a textbook suicide squeeze bunt down the first base side. Ishii — running on contact — darted home as Sunset infield’s heave to the plate was late, giving Westview a 1-0 lead.

“I want to be an all-around player, so the more things I can do for the team the better,” said Fabrega. “Coach (Steve Antich) gave the bunt sign and trusted me, so that felt really good. I knew I contributed to the team today. We got the go-ahead run and the momentum going after that. I’m just glad I was a part of it.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior shortstop Parker Kelly puts down a slap tag on Sunsets Scott Wright for a strike em out, throw em out double play in the second inning.

Infield singles by Yovan and Parker Kelly with two outs brought up first baseman Teagan Lind who punched a base hit up the middle to score pinch runner Nolan Minter, 2-0.

“We just battle. We’re Westview. We’ve done this since day one,” said Fabrega. “The game’s not over until the last out. We work as a team and just love getting W’s.”

Relief pitcher Tyler Stofiel slammed the door on the Apollos in the ninth, retiring the heart of Sunset’s lineup to give Westview sole possession of first place in Metro with two games remaining.

“We always find a way to come out and put pressure on the other team,” said Yovan. “Taiki hit that ball down the line, and that was a big spark for us. I knew as soon as he got up to bat he was going to do that because he’s always been a clutch hitter in clutch spots. And, Keita’s bunt was just huge.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior pitcher Kasey Porter fields a sacrifice bunt and throws to first for an out.

Westview put runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings only to leave its ducks on the pond with nothing to show for Yovan who got the no-decision. Yet, Ishii’s clutchness against a previously penny-pinching Porter and Fabrega’s implementation of Antich’s orders saw to it Yovan’s efforts wouldn’t go to waste.

“We try to not panic,” said Lind. “We take it one at-bat a time, get ‘em on, get ‘em over and get ‘em in. We were a little frustrated we couldn’t score earlier. But, to finally get runs in just felt good to give Kenyon what he deserved because he pitched great.”

Yovan and Porter were both brilliant on the hill with the Wildcat righty fanning 14 Apollos while allowing just one hit on an array of sick sliders and heated fastballs.

“I just wanted to attack with my fastball in the (strike) zone,” said Yovan. “The curveball was a little off. My splitter was working, but pounding my fastball in the zone was a big deal for me. (Tyler) Stofiel received pitches very well behind the dish and my defense was great behind me.”

“We fed off of him,” Fabrega said of Yovan.

Porter, on the other hand, said he tried to get ahead in the pitch count with his fastball and came back with a breaking ball or backdoor curveball to keep Westview guessing. Trading zeros on the scoreboard with Yovan for all but the eighth stanza, and engaging in an epic pitcher’s dual was memorable the right-handed hurler.

“It was competitive, definitely a good time,” said Porter who eight and a third innings. “Congratulations to (Yovan). He’s a great pitcher. It was great battling with him.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior outfielder Chad Maheu fields a fly ball in the third inning against Westview.

Sunset mounted six Apollos on base, five on walks and one double by Nick Pullen in the bottom of the third, but couldn’t bring anyone around the bases for scores. Westview’s stingy defense had a large hand in the Apollos’ distress as Stofiel threw out a pair of potential Sunset base stealers from behind the plate. And, in the eighth, Yovan snared a line drive off the bat of Justin Silvey and doubled up Chad Maheu at first base for the inning-ending double play.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset sophomore second baseman Justin Silvey completes an off-balance throw to first for an out

“It was definitely a heartbreaker,” said Porter. “We battled. We just couldn’t get ahold of (Yovan). His stuff was good today and we just couldn’t hit him. He was keeping us off-pace and hitting the zone. We had a couple spark plugs, but we couldn’t capitalize when we got on base.”

Porter noted the Apollos need to jump on teams from the beginning of the game and focus in on the little things that have cost Sunset a handful of key Metro contests.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview second baseman Keita Fabrega flips an out to the bag for a double play against Sunset.

“That’s where we mess up,” said Porter. “We don’t get bunts down or we miss a sign and that just really screws us up. We get behind and have to crawl out. If we dig deep, we can compete with anybody in the state.”

Westview and Sunset complete their series today.



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