Early Runs Help Valley Baseball Team Defeat Mesa, 9-5

Aaron Shackelford hits an RBI double for one of his four RBIs in Tuesday's victory. Despite playing on the road, the Murrieta Valley...

Aaron Shackelford hits an RBI double for one of his four RBIs in Tuesday's victory.

Despite playing on the road, the Murrieta Valley High School baseball team took home a win against Murrieta Mesa on Tuesday, defeating the Rams, 9-5.

The Nighthawks did not take any time to warm up in the game, scoring three runs in the first inning. The inning was highlighted by RBI doubles by senior Brendan Moore and junior Dominic Morace.

Murrieta Valley head coach Monte Jones said because his team was able to get on the board and score runs early, they were able to control a lot of the game.

The second inning did not see a slowdown by the Nighthawks, who scored three more runs in the inning. A two-RBI double by senior Aaron Shackelford and another RBI double by Moore brought Murrieta Valley’s total to six runs.

Murrieta Mesa finally answered in the bottom of the second inning with three runs of its own. An RBI double by junior Hunter Woodruff and an RBI single by junior Zachary Silos scored two Rams runs. Heads-up baserunning by Silos scored the Rams’ third run of the inning after he advanced to third base while no one was covering the bag, then scored on a passed ball.

Murrieta Valley added another run to its total at the start of the third inning with a solo home run by Morace, but Murrieta Mesa shut down the Nighthawks the rest of the inning.

Shackelford tallied two more RBIs in the game in the fourth and sixth innings on a single and a double, respectively, bringing the Nighthawks’ run total to nine. Shackelford went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs in Tuesday’s game.

Jones said that Shackelford’s work ethic is what produces such quality at-bats. Because he works so hard at practice, said Jones, he is able to produce hits and runs on the field.

The Rams tried to mount a comeback in the seventh inning and scored two runs, but the damage was done and the Nighthawks secured the win.

For Murrieta Valley, junior pitcher Brent McDonald pitched four innings and allowed three earned runs, but received the win. Junior pitcher Kase Gebbie came on in relief for the Nighthawks in the fifth inning and pitched two scoreless innings before getting into a jam in the seventh. However, he was able to pitch around two runs and close the game.

After coming back from a hamstring injury that set him back early in the season, McDonald has been a solid starter for the Nighthawks, said Jones. With Gebbie coming in to relieve behind him, the two were able to put together a great outing, he said.

Murrieta Mesa’s starting pitcher, junior Nate Stilinovich, was roughed up early and only made it through 1.2 innings, allowing five runs to cross the plate. Senior pitcher Christian Stiegele came in with two outs in the second inning and pitched through the sixth, allowing four runs in his stint. Woodruff pitched the seventh and allowed no runs.

Murrieta Valley’s record improves to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in league, while Murrieta Mesa’s falls to 10-9 overall and 0-6 in league. The two teams will face off again on Thursday at Murrieta Mesa at 7:30 p.m.

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