Baseball: St. Bede 9, Princeton 2
PERU — Two evenly matched baseball teams, the Princeton Tigers (4-5, 3-2) and the St. Bede Bruins (5-4, 4-3) squared off Tuesday afternoon at the academy in what all were expecting to be a tight contest.
For three innings, that proved to be the case, until the Bruins’ batters blew open the game with a seven-run fourth inning to grab a lead they would keep en route to a 9-2 victory over the Tigers.
“We got some good hitters’ counts, we hit the ball hard when we needed to,” St. Bede coach Bill Booker said. “We were playing good defense, running the bases well, and put some pressure on them.”
Bruins’ winning pitcher Dylan Grammer went the distance, striking out eight Tiger batters while only allowing two runs (both earned), five hits and one walk.
“That’s his second real good outing,” Booker said. “Last time he threw, he missed his spots and had to pay for it. It’s about location, and Dylan can mix what he’s got. I thought he threw a heckuva game today.”
Leading the Bruins from the batter’s box were Trevor Mooney (3-4, 1 run, 2 RBI), Mateo Sanchez (2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI), Kane Clendenen (2-4, 3 runs) and Kaile Williams (1-4, 1 run, 3 RBI).
The Tigers’ offense, on the other hand, had a promising start that quickly evaporated.
“We started off the first inning with a good solid double, had a little infield error and runners on, and then things fell apart and couldn’t get a run in,” Princeton coach Wick Warren said. “Get that run in, no telling what would’ve happened, change the dynamic of the game, but it didn’t happen.”
“I think we had five hits total. We didn’t hit it consistently enough to do any damage, so it was a tough, tough loss.”
The Bruins got on the scoreboard first thanks to a sac fly by Ben Bernabei in his first at-bat to score Clendenen, who would cross the plate again in the third inning by way of a hit to left field by Mooney to put the Bruins ahead 2-0.
“I like our approach to the plate,” Booker said. “We performed against some pretty darn good pitching.”
Princeton starter Conner Dickens was holding his own until the bottom of the fourth inning, looking ready to shut down the side after a strikeout and groundout, when the Bruins’ scoring deluge opened up.
Clendenen hit a single to center field, stole second base, then was sent home on an RBI double by Sanchez. Sanchez was allowed to advance to third after a balk was called on Dickens, then scored on an RBI double by Demetrius Schupp to up the Bruins’ lead to 4-0.
“The balk was legit,” Warren said. “Conner flinched on his back leg.”
Mooney sent pinch-runner Luke Story home on a base hit, aided by an error, to up the Bruins’ advantage to 5-0 and prompting Warren to send Jacob Burns to the mound in relief of Dickens.
“They did a good job of putting pressure on our defense and on him (Dickens),” Warren said. “He just got in a situation where he wasn’t as sharp as he has been.”
Then, things went from bad to worse for the Tigers when Williams belted a 3-run double to center, scoring Bernabei, Mooney and pinch-runner Braden Damerell for an 8-0 St. Bede lead.
Williams capped off the St. Bede scoring binge when he took advantage of a fielding error at third base to make it home to increase the Bruins’ lead to 9-0.
The Tigers tried to rally in the fifth inning, with an RBI double by Burns to score Noah Atkinson, and Drew Woolley sending Burns home on a hit to right field to narrow the score to 9-2.
However, the wind seemed to be taken out the Tigers’ comeback when, running to third on a hit by Caleb Alter. Woolley was called out, a call met with loud disapproval from all wearing blue.
“Close call,” Warren said.
A strikeout to end their at-bat for the inning and unproductive turns in the sixth and seventh sealed the Bruins’ win.
“We just didn’t hit the ball like we should have, and could have,” Warren said. “We average seven or eight hits a game, and only got five today. We’ve just gotta keep working hard.”
• The Tigers and the Bruins were scheduled to play Thursday but at PHS’ Prather Field was deemed to wet. No makeup date has been announced.