Luna does it all for RHS baseball
In the outfield and at the plate, Rugby High School’s baseball team gets going with shortstop Eli Luna.
The Towner High School junior’s skill set was on full display as the Panthers avenged an early season loss to Region 5 foe Northern Lights with a 10-3 rematch win May 9 at RHS.
Luna was the first of six Panthers to cross the plate in a six-run first inning. His instincts in the field led to RHS catching NL sophomore standout Jalen Pfeifer in a pickle between third base and home in the opening frame, which saw two Comets stranded in scoring position.
“He’s a gamer,” RHS coach Kendall Schieve said of Luna. “It seems like he’s always in the right place at the right time, and when it seems like he’s not in the right place, he somehow ends up in the right place.”
Luna, a three-sport standout, is a three-year starter at shortstop and it shows. With two runners in scoring position and one out, Luna fielded a grounder from NL senior Weston Schoening in the opening frame and began chasing sophomore Karson Schoening to third. Luna saw Pfeifer heading home and decided to prevent the run. A lengthy rundown ensued before RHS junior pitcher Eric Hooker threw to first baseman Hunter Hager, who moved over to make the tag at the plate.
“Usually I use my quickness to my advantage and sometimes luck has a lot to do with it,” Luna said.
Luck had little to do with the incredible play he made in a 1-2-3 seventh inning. NL junior T.J. Martin smacked a one-hopper to the edge of the infield, driving Luna deep into the hole. Luna, also an all-state quarterback, snagged the ball cleanly and made a perfect long throw for the out.
“They were very aggressive,” NL coach Seth Engelstad said. “My guys had hits, but right at them. But Rugby made plays.”?The Comets (7-2 overall, 5-2 region) beat Bottineau earlier in the afternoon for the second time in the week by one run.
The Panthers’ bats spoiled NL’s bid for a two-win day. RHS senior Jaedon Haman drove in the team’s first run with a single through the right-field gap to score Luna from second. Both players stole second and Hooker hit a single through the left-field gap to score Haman. Three more Panthers hit RBI singles in the inning and eight of the nine starters reached base as NL starter and eighth-grader Austin Soukup was chased before the visitors recorded a second out.
RHS (4-8, 3-4) added a run in the second and three more in the fifth. Haman finished with a game-high three RBIs.
“It felt good to be able to make contact with the ball again,” Haman said. “We’re just kind of right now with the bats and hopefully it keeps going.”
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