Prep pushes envelope at plate

GLENDALE — Even though the Flintridge Prep baseball team had little difficulty overall in beating Chadwick by nine runs on Wednesday, the Rebels took a little bit of lingering frustration into Thursday's rematch at the Glendale Sports Complex after striking out looking five times in the opener.

Prep made a point of being more aggressive from literally the first pitch on Thursday, hammering out eight first-inning runs to set the pace for a 15-0 Prep League win in a game shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.

"We're just trying to preach to our kids to be aggressive at the plate and swing at strikes and not to look so much," Rebels Coach Buzz Cook said. "With having so many freshmen, we're trying to get them to be aggressive at the plate and go up there with some confidence, look for strikes and if you see one take a hack because good things happen when you swing the bat."

Kyle McDonald, who also started the game on the mound and combined with relievers Brenden McKiernan and Alex Sierra on a one-hitter, slapped a leadoff single on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning and was quickly standing on third base after swiping a pair of bases.

"That set the tone," said Cook, whose team improved to 9-5 and 3-2 in league for second place. "Kyle and Royce [Park] were up there looking to hit the ball today."

Four hits, two walks and an error later, the lineup turned over and McDonald drove in two runs with a double. He was one of two Rebels, along with Park, to go two for two in the opening frame.

Cook started five freshmen on Thursday and got contributions up and down the lineup, as McDonald, Park, Cole Rademacher, Scott Tsangeos and Sierra each had two hits apiece and McDonald, Dylan Arya and Clayton Weirich all had two runs batted in, while Park finished with three.

Arya and Weirich both had two-RBI singles in Prep's seven-run fourth inning that hastened the early stoppage.

Cook is hopeful that the Rebels' recent success at the plate will carry over when it begins a two-game set with league champion and current frontrunner Pasadena Poly at the Glendale Sports Complex on Tuesday.

"Obviously, next week is going to be a much different story when we see Poly twice because their pitching is typically some of the better pitching we see all year long," Cook said. "Hopefully, we'll have a little more confidence next week and we'll continue to do that."

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