If Lima Central Catholic didn’t take advantage of every opportunity in its 13-3 baseball win over Perry on Thursday at Players Field it was only because there were so many to choose from.
The Thunderbirds scored those 13 runs on only six hits. But they were able to put runners on base and move them around to the plate by mixing in nine walks, six Perry errors and four wild pitches, which added up to a five-inning run rule win.
“Offensively, we took advantage of everything they gave us. They gave us a bunch of free baserunners. The last two days we’ve done a real good job with runners on base of turning it into runs,” LCC coach John Schnieders said.
“That’s part of the growth of our younger guys. Getting on base is one thing but coming up with the big runners in scoring position winning plays to turn it into runs, that’s what wins you ballgames,” he said.
LCC’s leadoff hitter, Quintel Peoples, reached base in three of his four at bats, all three times on walks. No. 3 hitter Connor Gephart was on base all four times he went to the plate on two walks, an error and a triple in the fifth inning.
Sebastian Contini had two doubles and drove in two runs and Braden Tarr allowed only one run and struck out four in his first appearance of the season for the Thunderbirds (4-3). Perry’s Joey Hoersten had two doubles.
“Quintel and Connor have really stepped up the last couple of days. Quintel, with the energy that he brings to the top of the lineup getting on base and causing havoc, and Gephart has just been pounding the ball the last three days,” Schnieders said. “He’s really turning into one of our leaders on the field. While he’s a junior he’s definitely one of those guys other guys feed off. I think he’s got four or five doubles in the last three days.”
Gephart said, “I think we do a good job of just putting the ball in play and making the defense make plays. We’ve got a lot of young guys who can come up and make plays and the veterans are putting the ball in play, as well.”
He said his productivity in recent games was the result of a lot of practice.
“I guess it just comes from BP (batting practice). We take a lot of good reps (repetitions) and that’s where it comes from. Credit to Coach (Colin) Stolly for throwing a great BP. He’s been throwing some good looks at us.”
Tarr was on a strict pitch count. Gus Cira and Jacob Lauck combined to pitch the last two innings for the Thunderbirds.
“Braden has fought through some elbow tendinitis this spring. He sat for about two weeks during the preseason and didn’t throw at all. This was his first appearance since that injury,” Schnieders said.
Perry took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Hoersten doubled and eventually scored on a balk.
LCC answered with two runs in the bottom of the first but that wasn’t the only difficulty Perry encountered in that inning.
With its No. 1 pitcher Braden Yingst on the mound, the Commodores expected to be competitive. But after the first inning, he told coach Mark Hoersten he was experiencing some arm pain and that was the end of his pitching for the day.
“You’re not going to beat anybody making that many errors,” Hoersten said. “We’re starting four freshmen. They’re not there yet. But hopefully with a few more games they’re going to get there. LCC has a nice ballclub.”
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.