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  • Val T.

DuVall pitches 2-hitter, drives in 3 as Caston blanks Culver


Sports Editor, RTC

FULTON — Pete DuVall pitched a two-hitter and eight strikeouts, and he also had two hits and three RBIs at the plate as the Caston baseball team handled visiting Culver 10-0 in five innings on May 12.

Gavin Mollenkopf added two hits and two RBIs, and Grant Yadon singled and also drove in two runs.

Talon Zeider had a hit and an RBI.

Preston Holderfield reached three times on two walks and a hit by pitch, and Jonathan Pacheco started on senior night and walked twice and scored a run while batting ninth in the order.

“He’s a kid who we just love to death, and he really works hard at it,” Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “And I’m glad he got some success in that nine spot for us, and it helped because our top was able to come up with some big hits there and push that lead.”

While DuVall walked no one, the Caston offense took advantage of 10 walks from Culver pitchers and four errors from their defense. Culver committed three errors in Caston’s six-run second as the lead ballooned to 8-0.

Jonas McCuen and Caleb McCuen each had a single for Culver, who did not put a runner in scoring position until the fifth inning.

But with runners at second and third and one out, DuVall retired Kyler Weiger on a foul pop to the pitcher and struck out Derek McKee to end it.

“You’re starting to see some things come to fruition about the grind of hitting,” Mollenkopf said. “We’ve had a good week this week of hitting, and some things have loosened up. And a lot of it is just confidence. Kids roll on confidence when things are going good, and it’s better.”

Cameron Whitworth started and allowed eight runs (three earned) in 1 ⅔ innings. He allowed three hits, five walks and two hit batters while striking out three. Reese Herrell relieved and tossed 2 ⅓ innings, allowing three hits and two runs (none earned) while walking five and fanning two.

The game was played under cloudy, soggy conditions and included a lightning delay in the first inning.

“I don’t think he was really struggling,” Culver first-year coach Mike Pazin said. “I think it was a product of starting a game, stopping a game and then a hour in between. It’s hard for professionals, let alone high school kids, to have to sit back for an hour waiting for the weather to get under control. So I think that’s what that was. Cam’s a really good pitcher and a really good competitor.”

Pazin said he wanted to be the coach at Culver “to be here for these kids.”

“Great group of kids,” Pazin said. “I coached for a few years prior to here. It was an opportunity to take over a head job. But it’s about these kids, these families and (assistant) coach (Shane) Lowry and (assistant) coach (Matt) McCuen.”

Pazin is a graduate of Brother Rice High School in Chicago. He was the former JV coach at Culver Academy.

The Cavaliers list 18 players on their roster, but they have only two seniors and four juniors. Pazin said a “high percentage” of the players play summer ball. He speaks of “growth,” both physically and in learning the game.

“We are a really young team,” Pazin said. “We have a lot of freshmen and a lot of sophomores. It’s about development. It’s about competing every day. It’s about teaching moments. Today’s a teaching moment. But it’s hoping that these guys pick up on stuff. We only have a few upperclassmen. I’m hoping that they learn from those guys each and every game that we play.

“It’s a challenge, but these kids are up to it. They come from good backgrounds. They come from good families. They’ve got good support around them here at Culver.”

DuVall drilled a two-strike, two-out, two-run single between the shortstop and third baseman in the first inning.

The second featured an RBI single from Mollenkopf, a run-scoring error on Jackson Rentschler’s ground ball to short, another run-scoring error on DuVall’s fly to right field, Yadon’s two-run single and Zeider’s RBI single.

DuVall had another RBI single in the third, and Mollenkopf’s RBI single tallied Zeider in the fourth.

Caston 10, Culver 0 (5 innings)

Culver 000 00 – 0 2 4

Caston 261 1X – 10 6 2

WP – Pete DuVall (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

LP – Cameron Whitworth (1 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 8 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 3 K)

2B – Pete DuVall (CAS)

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