Baseball: Eagles emerge in duel of top-notch pitchers

Redwood Rangers lose 3-1 as Bakersfield’s Toby Twist outduels Redwood’s Joey Volchko in a battle of baseball recruits

VISALIA – Two highly recruited pitchers went head to head in the first round of playoffs when Redwood’s Joey Volchko and Bakersfield’s Christian’s Toby Twist took the mound on May 17.

Coming into last Tuesday’s Division II playoff matchup Ranger head coach Dan Haydash said that he expected the pitching matchup to be something fans should look out for.

“Two top-notch pitchers are going head to head.  Both are talented and love to compete,” Hydash remarked. “It should be a great matchup.” 

The statement proved to be true, as pitching was top notch in the matchup. 

In the first inning Bakersfield scored one run and the Rangers scored none. Bakersfield Christian racked up two more runs in the fourth inning number to make the score 3-0. Redwood  came out hot in the seventh inning and scored a run. The Rangers looked like they might get a rally going, but in the end it was just too little too late. The fourth-seeded Eagles would defeat the 13th seeded Rangers 3-1.

Twist, Bakersfield Christian’s star pitcher and Oregon University commit, said keeping Redwood’s lineup out of rhythm was a huge factor in his team’s victory. Twist pitched all but the last two outs of the game, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out 13.

“I knew the team pretty well played with a lot of their players just attacking the zone and keeping them off balance,” Twist said.

Redwood ace pitcher and Stanford commit Volchko said it felt great to battle against another great pitcher. Volchko also said facing a pitcher like the Rangers did last week should give Redwood’s lineup a lot of confidence going into next year.

“It was a great test for me to be in a matchup like that. If you take away a couple of the hiccups, I feel like we had every chance to win that game,” Volchko said. “The guy we faced is great and he has been for a while, so to have our returning hitters having gone against him will make them essentially ready for anything we’ll see next year and I’m excited to see what we do offensively next year.”
Ending the season in such a close game can be disappointing, but Redwood first baseman Joey Rico said he considered the season an overall success.

 “I think the season was a success. We have a lot of guys returning so I think we will use this season as a learning experience and work on the areas we need to in the off season.”

Bakersfield Christian went on to lose to No. 5 Ridgeview in the quarterfinals of the Division II Central Section playoffs.

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