baseball

Hard working Ruiz wins thrilling pitchers’ duel in L4 opener

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File photo – St. Bernard’s senior pitcher Caleb Ruiz has looked very impressive in his first two starts this season.

If opening night in the Little 4 was anything to go by, it could be a very enjoyable spring for the league.

In a game that was brought forward a few weeks because of a scheduling conflict for both teams later in the month, St. Bernard’s hosted Ferndale at Bomber Field.

And despite coming in having only played three games between them this season, the two clubs combined for a thriller, with the Crusaders edging out a 1-0 win.

Pitchers Caleb Ruiz of St. Bernard’s and Landon Gomes of Ferndale gave up just two hits each, and both looked anything but rusty.

Ruiz struck out a remarkable 19 batters on his way to the win, his second in five days, almost tossing a complete game, before being relieved late by Bode Joyner because of his pitch count.

Joyner got the final out.

Gomes was just as impressive for the Wildcats, who dropped to 0-1 in the Little 4 and 1-2 on the season.

“He threw a complete-game two hitter and he was brilliant,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said of Gomes, whom he coaches during the summer in American Legion. “He was really good tonight.”

Ruiz, who is Gomes’ teammate in American Legion, was every bit as effective.

“It’s really showing. He put in a lot of work in the offseason and he’s ahead of everybody else,” Tomlin said of Ruiz. “His hard work is paying off.”

Freshman Braeden Zimmerman scored the winning run in the fourth inning, while pinch running.

He stole his way to second before advancing all the way home on a pair of passed balls.

Lane Thrap had a single for St. Bernard’s while Ayden Hamanaka had a pinch-hit double.

The Crusaders (2-0) will play at the Fort Bragg tournament, which gets under way on Friday.

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