DELPHOS – When a pitching staff holds an opposing baseball team to just three base hits, that usually gives that ball club an advantage.
However, giving up too many free passes at the plate can easily change the scenario.
In Monday’s nonconference baseball game against Delphos St. John’s at Stadium Park, Shawnee pounded out 14 base hits to pull away for a 16-7 victory over St. John’s.
However, it wasn’t an easy path for Shawnee.
Thanks to 11 free passes – 10 walks and one hit batter – St. John’s led Shawnee 6-3 after three innings.
However, in the top of the fourth inning, Shawnee got the bats going and scored five runs on four hits to pull out to an 8-6 lead.
Then in the sixth, the Indians put the game away, tallying eight runs on six hits.
“We always teach the kids that the teams that catch and throw the best, are going to win the most games,” veteran Shawnee head coach Chad Spencer said. “And when you have games when you don’t catch and throw well – which obviously includes pitching and catching – that can lead to some long games. Tonight, was one of those nights for us, for two or three innings.”
With the convincing win, Shawnee improves to 4-0 on the young season. St. John’s slips to 0-3.
Leading the charge for Shawnee at the plate Monday was sophomore Logan Maxwell. The sophomore centerfielder went 4 for 4 with five RBI and a walk. Two of Maxwell’s hits were doubles.
Also having multiple-hit performances for Shawnee Monday were Kale Ebling (2 for 5), Jake Hutchins (2 for 5), A.J. Brown (2 for 4) and Joey Azzarello (2 for 3).
“So far this year, we’ve swung the bats pretty well – especially considering how cold it is,” Spencer said. “We’re a veteran team. We have quite a few seniors on the squad. You expect this time of the year that these kids will swing the bats well; and so far, we have. We’re getting ready to get into league (play). That’s when you start finding out what you’re made of.”
However, on the pitching mound Monday night, the Indians struggled.
Shawnee starting pitcher Dalton Miller worked just 2 1/3 innings before being lifted. The senior right-hander got tabbed for five runs on just one hit. Miller walked eight and hit one batter.
Tristan Dawson came in to relieve Miller of his pitching duties in the third and closed out the game for the Indians. Dawson also had some control problems, walking five and hitting one batter in his four-plus innings of work.
“We wanted him (Dawson) to work through that situation,” Spencer said. “That’s the first time he’s pitched all year. He came in at a tough spot. … To come in with the bases loaded and in the middle of a rally, he had to settle down and find himself. I thought after he got through an inning, inning and a half, he started to hit his stride with his pitches.”
St. John’s utilized four pitchers Monday night.
Lincoln Mueller got the starting nod for the Blue Jays. The left-handed Mueller pitched two innings before being lifted for Brady Kerner. Mueller gave up one run on one hit, while striking out two and walking two.
Kerner worked one inning, before giving way to Adam Gerker. Gerker lasted 1 2/3 innings. Chandler Skym closed it out on the mound for the Blue Jays.
For the game, St. John’s left a total of 11 base runners stranded.
“We’re getting a little more disciplined at the plate,” St. John’s coach Jerry Jackson said. “We’re seeing more pitches. That’s why we got runners on. We just have to find the right combination of hitting with runners in scoring position. That’s the difference between that eight-run inning they (Shawnee) put up and us putting zero up. They got base hits when they had runners in scoring position.”
NOTE: Shawnee head coach Chad Spencer became the all-time winningest baseball coach in school history in last week’s win over Coldwater.