BASEBALL: HART RALLY PROVES IT'S A FORCE IN FOOTHILL ICENOGLE COMES THROUGH IN 5 1/3 INNINGS OF RELIEF HART 6, CANYON 5.
SANTA CLARITA - Proving it is a title contender is not something the Hart High baseball team is used to doing. The Indians of Newhall have won nine of the last 10 Foothill League titles, but they were left trying to prove themselves when they faced league rival Canyon on Tuesday at Canyon.
Hart let the previously undefeated Cowboys know the league race might not be so different after all. Despite recent struggles and an early 5-1 deficit, the Indians rallied for a 6-5 victory in eight innings.
``We just know that they think they're going to win,'' Hart pitcher Jeff Icenogle said. ``We had to prove them wrong.''
Icenogle, a senior left-hander, pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to keep the Indians in the game as Hart's offense took advantage of Canyon misfortune.
Hart tied the game with three walks and two costly Canyon throwing errors in the sixth inning. The Indians scored two runs without a hit in the inning. In the eighth inning, a drive by Todd Wilson hit Cowboys reliever Jake Coash in the leg and went into right field, allowing Danny Williams to score the deciding run.
Canyon loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but Icenogle got out of the jam to end Hart's streak of three consecutive games without a victory.
Last year, Canyon was the only team to beat Hart during the regular season. This time, the Indians (5-3-1, 1-0-1) are the first to defeat Canyon (6-1, 1-1), a team with 13 seniors, some of the area's most productive hitters and a pair of commanding left-handed pitchers.
``We know we're the best team in the league,'' Icenogle said. ``We had some bad luck and played some good teams. We just had to come out and get it done.''
The performance was a drastic improvement from Saturday when the Indians were swept by Bishop Amat of La Puente in a nonleague doubleheader.
``It put us in our place,'' Icenogle said of the losses in which little went right. ``We weren't getting it done.''
Hart's woes continued early Tuesday as three errors in the first two innings led to three Canyon runs. The Cowboys were up 5-1 by the time Hart starter Won Yoo was replaced by Icenogle (1-1) in the third inning. Icenogle had hoped he would get a chance to play.
``Definitely,'' he said. ``This was the big game. We all want to play in this one.''
Icenogle, who finished with five strikeouts, did not allow a hit until Clay Britton's leadoff single in the sixth inning.
``You just go out there and throw strikes,'' Icenogle said. ``That's all you can do. Don't even look at the scoreboard.''
Williams started the comeback with a two-run double in the fourth inning.
``We were always thinking we were in it,'' he said. ``We just go out to play hard and if people think we aren't as good, it's just more motivation.''
Craig Cohen and Williams had two hits each for Hart, which also had a triple by Chris Steck. Britton had a game-high three hits.
Canyon's Ryan Burke loses track of the ball as Hart's Craig Cohen gets back to second base Tuesday.
John McCoy/Staff Photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 20, 2002|
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