High school baseball: Imm sparks Newman past Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa shortstop Michael Walker and catcher Sawyer Croft watch as a bunt stays fair to load the bases Wednesday against Cardinal Newman. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa shortstop Michael Walker and catcher Sawyer Croft watch as a bunt stays fair to load the bases Wednesday against Cardinal Newman. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Colin Imm broke out of his batting slump in a big way Wednesday as he led visiting Cardinal Newman to an 8-1 victory over Santa Rosa.

The right fielder had been hitless through the first 10 games of the season, but that changed in dramatic fashion as he stroked two doubles and knocked in four runs to lead the Cardinals to the NBL victory.

Imm’s first two-bagger came in the second inning and knocked in a pair of runs. The sophomore’s second two-run double came in the seventh.

See game photos here

“I’m just relieved,” Imm said with a smile. “The first hit was on a fastball down the middle and the second one was a pitch up in the strike zone.

“I saw the ball well all day. I didn’t do anything different in my approach to the game. It’s just been an adjustment playing varsity.”

Newman coach T.J. McMahon said he never lost confidence in Imm.

“I knew he could hit at this level,” McMahon said. “It was good to see his bat come alive. Both those doubles came after two were out.”

Imm’s first double gave his team a 2-0 lead and it turned out that was all the run support pitcher Rourke Theiller would need.

The senior allowed four hits through five innings. Santa Rosa scored its run in the second.

“My slider and fastball were working,” Theiller said. “After we scored three in the third to make it 5-1, I knew I just needed to throw strikes and let the defense do the work behind me.

“When we get off to a fast start, we tend to do well.”

Ryan O’Leary finished up with two innings of hitless relief.

Newman banged out nine hits against a trio of Panthers pitchers. Jeff Rebello, like Imm, had a two-hit game.

Santa Rosa got one hit apiece from Paul Crandell, Shamus Lyons, Tyler Kelley and Cody Montanez.

“Theiller kept us off balance,” Panthers coach Paige Dumont said. “We couldn’t get anything going against him or their relief pitcher (O’Leary).”

Santa Rosa drops to 3-8 and 1-2 in league. Next up is a trip Friday to Casa Grande.

This was the first of three games in three days for Cardinal Newman (5-6 and 2-0).

The Cardinals travel to Ukiah today and host Rancho Cotate on Friday.

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