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Hot Dogs shut down No. 4 Danville in conference opener

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LOPEZ: Frankfort junior pitcher Christian Lopez struck out eight Danville batters and walked three while allowing just six hits and no earned runs.
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COMPTON: Frankfort sophomore Braden Compton hit a key, two-run single in the top of the third inning.
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VICTORS: Frankfort junior third baseman Jose Valdes-Sandoval, left, and freshman second baseman Jade Ayers celebrate after the final out of the Hot Dogs’ 5-1 win over the Danville Warriors.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Frankfort Hot Dogs opened Sagamore Athletic Conference play with a 5-1 win over the Class 3A No. 4 Warriors on Monday evening at Danville.

Frankfort was able to come up with timely hits versus the Warriors while junior Christian Lopez was able to keep them off balance while pitching a complete game.

“It was against a great team,” Frankfort head coach Andy Dudley said. “They are No. 4, not that the polls mean a whole lot at this point, but they got everyone back from a really good team last year. Christian got stronger as he went, but he made amazing adjustments. They hit the ball hard off of him early, and we got out of some jams. That is the first time in three years that I have seen Christian make those kinds of adjustments and really pitch like a No. 1. That was a lot of fun.”

Lopez struck out eight and walked three while allowing just six hits and no earned runs through seven innings.

“He threw strikes. He got ahead of hitters,” Dudley said. “He threw all of his pitches, and he just sort of trusted himself. He didn’t overthrow. He really pitched with a purpose. That has been that next step we have been waiting on him to make, and today he did that. He understood the purpose of each pitch.

“Today, he just trusted what we were doing, and it was a lot of fun to watch,” he continued. “And Omar (Alanis) did a great job behind the plate today. He framed up and got him pitches, kept the ball in front and kept the game clean. That is the best game I have seen Omar catch.”

Frankfort got on the scoreboard first in the game when sophomore Braden Compton drew a walk in the top of the second inning before coming home on a double to center field by Alanis. Danville answered in the bottom of the inning and was able to tie the game with the help of an error.

The Hot Dogs did the bulk of their damage in the top of the third inning when a single by Christian Lopez, a walk drawn by Casey Henry and a Jose Valdes-Sandoval being hit by a pitch loaded the bases with one out. Lopez scored to put Frankfort ahead 2-1 when Jack Espinoza grounded out to the pitcher, and then Compton came up with a big, two-out, two-run single to right field to extend the Hot Dogs’ lead to 4-1.

“There are guys getting more time at the varsity level, but their mentality has been a big part of it,” Dudley said. “So, you have a guy like Braden Compton who comes up with a huge hit, drives in a few runs and gets something going with the middle of the order.

“We had a lot of really deep counts the first few times through the order,” he added. “That doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but you start seeing pitches. We started being on pitches and started hitting the ball hard.”

Lopez reached base on a single in the top of the seventh inning and late came in to score the final run of the game on a double to left field by Valdes-Sandoval.

Lopez took to the mound one last time in the bottom of the seventh inning and slammed the door shut on the Warriors with three straight strikeouts.

Christian Lopez helped his cause by batting 2-4 with two runs scored while Compton went 1-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, Alanis went 2-3 with a double and an RBI, Valdes-Sandoval went 1-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, Henry went 1-3 with a double and a run scored, Espinoza went 1-4 with an RBI and both Jesus Lopez and Roger Angeles finished 1-3.

“We just battled,” Dudley said. “We looked like we were ready to play and didn’t look overwhelmed. It is only three games in, and we have improved every time we stepped on the field. We were a little sloppy early at Harrison, but we progressed the last couple inning and looked like a good ball team. Versus Rossville, we came out and were ready to play. It has been that progress and how guys carry their selves and talk. We are not repeating mistakes. Things that came up in the first couple games came up today, and we didn’t make the same mistakes. I am excited. It is a great group, and they are some tough kids. I am excited about the rest of the year.”

The Warriors get another shot at the Hot Dogs (2-1, 1-0 SAC) at 6 p.m. today at Frankfort before the Hot Dogs host the Carroll Cougars at 5 p.m. Friday and play in the Crawfordsville Invitational on Saturday.

“It is a good full week,” Dudley said.

“A complete game to start week helps the depth, but we have a ton of pitching depth.”

At Danville

HOT DOGS 5, WARRIORS 1

Frankfort 013 000 1 - 5 10 2

Danville 010 000 0 - 1 6 0

Frankfort ab r h bi

C. Lopez 4 2 2 0

C. Henry 3 1 1 0

J. Valdes-Sandoval 3 1 1 1

J. Espinoza 4 0 1 1

B. Compton 3 1 1 2

O. Alanis 3 0 2 1

J. Lopez 3 0 1 0

R. Angeles 3 0 1 0

J. Ayers 3 0 0 0

Totals 29 5 10 5

Danville ab r h bi

T. Lawson 3 0 0 0

B. Mills 4 0 1 0

E. Shafer 4 0 0 0

T. Morrell 2 0 0 0

I. MacGregor 3 0 2 0

J. Wynn 3 0 0 0

M. Broderick 2 1 1 0

N. Bulhanan 3 0 2 0

D. Snider 3 0 0 1

Totals 27 1 6 1

Pitching ip h r er b bso

Frankfort

C. Lopez, W 7 6 1 0 3 8

Danville

I. MacGregor, L 6 7 4 4 2 5

K. Brabec 1 3 1 1 0 0