3 double plays help Polars stifle Simley

North High hurler Louie Varland was effective during the five innings he was on the mound, leading the Polars to a 5-0 shutout over the Simley Spartans Friday, April 17.

The junior pitcher allowed only three hits and got Simley batters to hit into three double plays. Smart base running also helped the Polars, who recorded 10 stolen bases.

North ended with just five hits off Simley pitcher Zack Langton, who went the full seven innings and had seven strikeouts while allowing three walks.

North coach Ron Adams said, "Our defense was good. You have got to give Louie Varland credit. Simley is a pretty good hitting team, and he shut them down for five innings.

"We got by. We were able to scratch out those runs. We had aggressive base running. We were able to run the bases and that made a single into a triple."

Adams added, "It was one of our better games, but our sticks are just not there yet. We have to get better at hitting if we are going to be real successful."

Simley coach Kevin Kirkwold spoke of the third inning when North scored four runs on three hits and a walk. "Our pitcher kind of got out of himself a bit, and that set stage for their big inning. But that was the first start of the season for him.

"It was a good outing [for Langton]. For the most part he was effective with his selection of pitches."

Kirkwold then smiled and talked of the North play, "The double plays took all of our runners away. Those double plays and the pick plays hurt us.  (Varland picked off three Simley runners from the base paths.) North is a good team, and they took advantage of our mistakes."

The Polars put a run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first when designated hitter Jim Bothwell banged a one-out single into left. A pickoff attempt went down the right field line, and Bothwell went to second before stealing third. He scored on a throwing error, and it turned out to be the game-winner.

In the third Gus Varland led off with a walk. He stole second in front of a single up the middle by Sam Blees. Blees then swiped second in front of a two-RBI double by Jake Steckler, who went 2-for-3.

 A single by Bothwell — he also went 2-for-3 — plated Steckler. Bothwell then stole both second and third. He scored his second run on a wild pitch to give North the 5-0 lead.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7820.

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