Bulldogs drop from first place, but know they can play with states best

by: JEFF WILSON/THE PIONEER - Adam Knepp produced another solid outing on Monday, but the Bulldogs couldn't score runs.They didn't win the first battle, but the Culver baseball team now knows that it will be around for the entire war.

Country Christian may have handed the Bulldogs their first Class 2A Special District 2 loss of the season, 4-1 Monday night, but it did nothing to dampen the desire the Bulldogs have shown since opening day.

"There are good things to come," Culver coach Nick Viggiano said. "It's not a game where we hang our heads; we just played a good game with one of the better teams in the state. The balls we hit hard, we hit to them and they found gaps. So that was the difference."

With the win, Country Christian, which entered the week ranked sixth in the state, moved atop the league standings at 5-0. Culver, now 5-1 in league and 7-4 overall, knows for sure it can hang with any team out there.

"We didn't hit the ball well enough with guys on base," Viggiano said. "But to see that we can compete with this kind of team, it's uplifting for us."

And it's not like the Bulldogs didn't have their chances at this one.

After seeing a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 deficit in the fifth, Culver was one pitch away from having two on and no outs, a perfect situation to put down a bunt and have the go-ahead in scoring position at second with just a single out.

But the calls went against the Bulldogs, and twice scoring opportunities would disappear quickly.

Viggiano said that is just how baseball works and his team will overcome and learn from this game.

"We played well, our defense was a lot better," Culver shortstop Joe Daugherty said. "We just didn't hit well. I came to bat twice with the bases loaded and left them hanging, so that's my bad."

Freshman Mack Little paced Culver with two hits in the game.

While the Culver bats were rather quiet Monday, the pitching was once again outstanding as Adam Knepp tossed another solid game. Knepp went the distance, struck out six and pitched his way out of a couple jams late in the game.

"Adam been like that all year," Viggiano said. "He wants the ball every game. He's the kind of kid you want on the mound every time. I have a ton of confidence in him."

Culver jumps right back into league play Wednesday against East Linn and then at Delphian on Friday.

CHS fastpitch stays in race

The Bulldogs picked up their second win in Class 2A Special District 3 last week and sit in the middle of the league race at 2-3.

After splitting a doubleheader with Waldport last week, the Bulldogs lost to Central Linn Friday to fall to 2-12 overall.

Culver has a short week with just one game, Friday at Delphian.

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