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Rocklin’s slow start may have been deceiving

Thunder 2-0 in league
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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After a slow start in preseason and a number of one-run losses, the Rocklin High baseball team appears to have shaken off its spring fever and may be starting to catch fire. After dropping a 6-5 decision to Leigh High out of San Jose back in March, the Thunder stood at 0-5 on the season having lost all five games by a total of five runs. Since that time they have gone 6-2, including wins over Del Oro (2-1) and Roseville (7-5). “We’ve learned over the first 11 games. I think we have a chance to be right in the mix,” Rocklin head coach Roc Murray said of his team. “We just have some good kids on top of it.” Approaching 17 years at the helm of Rocklin baseball, Murray is a pretty good judge of what he has. In the last five years, the club has a combined win-loss record of 108-46 with four Sierra Foothill League titles. Ironically, their best year (24-8) they came in second in league. There’s camaraderie among the Thunder perhaps unmatched in the area. Murray’s roster carries on average around 25 players and he seems to get very few complaints from those who warm the bench. “Our kids love to play baseball,” said Murray. “They all have a job, every one of them. They all have something of significance they bring to the team.” Perhaps part of what they bring is a winning attitude. Again, in the past five years Rocklin has won three Sac-Joaquin Section championships. And last year came up one win short dropping a 4-2 decision to Roseville in the title game. The Thunder is becoming to the SFL what the New York Yankees are to the American League. Although the club is only batting at a .236 clip and a .318 slugging average, the boys in blue have a .935 fielding percentage. And with eight potential pitchers in the bullpen they total an earned-run average of 2.28. Against Roseville, Rocklin didn’t score in the last two innings. And maintained their composure after the Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh. But their bats have come through when they had to. Taylour Reidt had two hits, drove in three runs, and hit one over the fence. All Thunder runs were driven in off nine hits. Against Del Oro, pitcher Austin Dick scattered three hits in giving up just one run in 5 2/3 innings. Levin Bonnin sealed the win throwing shutout ball in the final 1 1/3 innings. At the plate, Patrick O’Keefe and Evan Durgarian came through with clutch hits to drive in Austin Spainhour and McVey for the winning runs. “They work hard and they have achieved in a lot of ways,” Murray said of his club. “It takes time to assimilate. By the end of the year we’re a pretty powerful force.” Baseball can be a game of patience and after 17 years Murray has seen firsthand the rewards patience can bring. Rocklin 7, Roseville 5 Thunder 0 0 0 4 3 0 0 – 7 9 0 Tigers 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 – 5 7 1