NBL baseball: Newman picks up key 6-2 win over Montgomery

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Montgomery's Jared Lablue can't get to a fly ball during Friday's game against Cardinal Newman. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Montgomery’s Jared Lablue can’t get to a fly ball during Friday’s game against Cardinal Newman. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

If reigning NBL champ Cardinal Newman hoped to repeat this season, the Cardinals needed to defeat visiting Montgomery on Friday afternoon.

Mission accomplished as the Cardinals handled the Vikings, 6-2.

After losing three games during the first half of league play, every game the rest of the way is a must-win.

“This was a big one for us,” coach TJ McMahon said. “We have to play one game at a time from here on out.”

Friday was a revenge game as Montgomery was one of three teams to defeat the Cardinals during first-half play. Newman also lost to league-leader Casa Grande and Maria Carrillo, both by single runs.

Friday, the Cardinals did something they were unable to do in the three NBL losses.

“We were finally able to string hits together,” McMahon said. “Also, we played mistake-free ball which we didn’t do in those losses.”

The Cardinals banged out 10 hits and benefited from six walks and a hit batter. In the field, they didn’t make an error.

The game was 1-1 after three innings when Newman struck for two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth.

The game changer came in the fourth when Jeff Rebello hit a triple that scored pinch-runner Bryce McChinack and Austin Calos.

Rebello had been struggling at the plate and after a fast start, his average had dipped to .231.

“I came in with a different mind set,” the junior said. “I’d been moving around at the plate and wasn’t set when pitches were coming in. So, I concentrated on staying quiet and that made a big difference.

“Also, I was looking for a pitch earlier in the count and I wasn’t doing that before.”

Besides his triple, Rebello had a single and a walk.

Erik Owenson and Alex Roeser also had multi-hit games, both going two-for-three.

Starting pitcher James Proctor got the win with relief help from Corey Hammell.

Hammell, the center on the Newman basketball team that made it to the state championship game, hurled the final 2 2/3 innings and struck out three while allowing two hits.

“This was the first time I’ve gone beyond two innings this season,” he said. “I was slowed down by tendonitis in my triceps when I first started coming to practice and I’ve just been trying to build up arm strength.”

Hammell said he threw 90 per cent fastballs at the Vikings.

“Coach said to stick to fastballs because they can’t catch up to it,” he said. “I guess he was right.”

Like the Cardinals, the Vikings have work to do in order to get back in NBL title contention. Right now, the teams are tied with Rancho Cotate for second place. All three have 5-3 records.

“We’re going through a rough patch,” coach Dean Haskins said.

Earlier in the week, Montgomery lost a 1-0 game at Casa Grande. Starter Jared Noonan pitched into the fifth inning and then three relievers finished the game.

The Vikings had six hits Friday, two of those by Rylan Kobre.

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