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Vigilantes' Ehler Finally Earns His First Victory of Season

June 26, 1997|STEVE KRESAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MISSION VIEJO — Daniel Ehler didn't have to think twice when asked if his performance Wednesday was his best of the season.

He didn't really have much else to choose from. Ehler, a right-handed pitcher, came in with an 0-4 record and a team-high earned-run average of 6.55.

But he turned his season around a bit when he gave up five hits in 8 1/3 innings as the Vigilantes beat Bend, 7-4, in a Western Baseball League game in front of an announced crowd of 1,846 at Saddleback College.

Ehler, who had nine strikeouts, missed his chance for a complete game when center fielder Reuben Smiley dropped a flyball for an error with one out in the ninth. Ehler then yielded two consecutive singles and was replaced by Steven Ceterko, who walked one and hit another but got the final two outs for his second save in as many nights.

"At least I got my first win under my belt," Ehler said. "My fastball was strong and I was just getting ahead and that's what really made the difference. I've been feeling good lately, but we just haven't been coming through but things went well for us tonight."

The Vigilantes (13-17) have won two in a row for the first time since winning four in row May 24-27.

It was obvious from the start that Ehler was sharp as he retired the first eight batters. He then gave up a double to Marcus McGowan and Mike Nadeau singled to right to give Bend a 1-0 lead.

Ehler then made his last poor pitch of the game to start the fourth, when Mark Charbonnet hit a home run over the right field fence. That homer put Bend ahead, 2-1, but it was the last hit that Ehler, a third-round pick of the Marlins in 1993, allowed until the ninth.

Alan Burke didn't take too long to reclaim his role as the team's home run leader in the fifth. Burke was tied at seven home runs with teammate Sam Taylor when Taylor hit one well over the right field fence to tie the score, 2-2, with one out in the fifth.

But one out later, Burke gave the Vigilantes the lead for good when he sliced a ball over the right-field fence for his eighth homer of the season. Burke also had a run-scoring single in the fourth that tied it, 1-1.

Taylor's ground-rule double in the seventh put the Vigilantes ahead, 7-2.

Notes

The league fined and suspended players as a result of the eighth-inning fight in Tuesday's game. Vigilante catcher Eric Brooks was suspended three games and fined $150 and reliever Kirk Kishita is out two games and was fined $100. Bend's Andres Duncan, who was hit in the shoulder by a pitch and then had a verbal altercation with Brooks that caused the benches to clear, was suspended three games and fined $150. Managers Brad Lesley (Vigilantes) and Al Gallagher (Bend) also were fined $100 each. . . . The game was the 30th for the Vigilantes, meaning the season is one-third completed. It also means there are only 15 games left in the first half. The Vigilantes are six games behind first-place Sonoma County, but the teams meet seven consecutive times, starting July 1 in Sonoma. The teams play four times in Sonoma, then play three times in Mission Viejo starting July 5.

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