MENDOTA — Hall senior pitcher Taggart Venegas turned in a commanding performance on the mound Wednesday afternoon, at a windy and cold Faber Field in Mendota.
Behind Venegas’ strong pitching, the Hall Red Devils downed the Mendota Trojans, 5-2, in non-conference boys varsity baseball action and improved to 7-1.
Venegas went the distance on the hill, scattering six hits and allowing four walks while striking out 13 Trojan batters.
“Taggart gutted it out. It was a tough day for both (starting) pitchers,” said Hall coach Tom Keegan. “I thought their guy did a nice job, too. One of the hardest throwers we’ve seen so far this year. Credit both pitchers.
“It seemed like he (Venegas) got a little bit stronger as the game went on. The couple of jams we got ourselves into, he was able to pitch us out of it.
“His fastball has some life. He’s able to show some off-speed that keeps batters off-balance, too. The biggest thing we like about him is the make-up of him, the ability to get out of some jams, like he saw today.”
Hall took a 2-0 lead in the top of the game’s first inning.
Tyler Taber led off the game with a walk, and Venegas followed with a solid single to left field. They both eventually came around to score.
Miguel Villarreal reached base on an error to start the third, and Hall first baseman Trevor Urbanski soon sent him home with a booming two-run home run to left field. Hall suddenly led 4-0.
The Red Devils added another unearned run in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.
Mendota countered with a Spencer Evans RBI-single in the fourth and a Nathanael DeLong fielder’s choice RBI in the sixth to pull within 5-2 of the Red Devils.
But Venegas dominated on the mound, finishing the game with a three-pitch strikeout of Mendota’s clean-up hitter, despite throwing 134 pitches, 85 of them good for strikes.
Venegas went 2-3 plus a walk at the plate for the Red Devils, who improved to 7-1 on the young season.
Mendota catcher Juan Gonzalez also went 2-3 with a double and a walk for the Trojans (5-5).
Mendota actually out-hit the Red Devils, 6-5.
“We were able to put enough runs on the board early on to allow us to get ourselves out of some jams as the game went on,” Keegan said. “To hold a team to two runs on a day like today, we’ll take it.”
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.