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Saint James breaks into win column with doubleheader sweep

April 30, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent
  • Saint James' Alex Beckel (5) slides into home under the tag of Hancock catcher Eli Souders during the first game of the Saints' doubleheader sweep of the Panthers. The wins by scores of 4-3 and 3-2 were Saint James' first wins of the season.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

ST. JAMES — On Saturday, the Saint James baseball team ended its imperfect season.

The Saints got off the schneid in a big way with a 4-3, 3-2 doubleheader sweep over Hancock to notch their first two victories of the season.

“Today we finally played as a team,” said Saint James coach Mick Kerns. “We got some hits, made some plays and forced them to make some plays as well.”

In the first game, the Saints (2-7) led from the start by taking a 2-1 lead in the first inning. Pitcher Brett Vitkun scored two runs and Patrick Morris had two RBIs to lead Saint James to the win.

Vitkun found his groove after allowing an RBI base hit to Eli Souders in the first to keep the Panthers (4-7) at bay for the next three innings.

“Today’s start felt really good,” said Vitkun. “Everything about my delivery was smooth. It flowed great and I had great support from my defense.”

Vitkun struck out seven — five coming off of his changeup — and walked two to keep Hancock’s batters off-balance.

“You’ve got to love the changeup,” said Vitkun.

Hancock threatened in the fifth when Garrett Wiles and Nate Souders drove in runs, but Vitkun induced a harmless grounder back to the mound to end the rally.

The second game showcased a pitchers’ duel between Saint James’s Alex Beckel and Hancock’s Hunter McKinley.

McKinley held the upperhand for four innings as Hancock scored on a Souders RBI in the first and on a balk in the third to take a 2-0 lead.

“I was throwing strikes and I felt good about everything. That balk sure was awkward,” said Beckel, who had four strikeouts and two walks. “(McKinley) was pitching so well, I thought there was no way we could come back.”

The Saints got to McKinley in the fifth, starting with consecutive singles by Bobby Leatherman, Ryan Abbott and Alec Wingerd to load the bases for Seong-Gon Yoo. Yoo ripped a two-strike fastball into left-center field to drive in two runs to tie the game.

“It was really nerve-wracking being up there with so much pressure,” said Yoo. “But I just hit the ball, I didn’t even think about it.”

Wingerd scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball, allowing Beckel to secure the win with the help of an unassisted double play by Vitkun at second base to end the game.

“That double play was awesome,” said Beckel. “We’ve lost a lot of games, but with this sweep, we’re ready for a brand new start. We’re facing Goretti on Monday with a ton of momentum. We can still turn this season around.”

“Sometimes the baseball gods are against you, but sometimes they’re with you,” said Mick Kerns. “Both pitchers pitched well, but we got up and we strung some hits together.”

Hancock coach Brian Kerns was disappointed.

“We were not ready to play either game,” he said. “We thought we had them beat because they hadn’t won a game, bottom line. Give credit to the Saints. They came out ready to play.”

Saint James 4-3, Hancock 3-2
Game 1
Hancock    100    02    —    3    7    3
Saint James    202    0x    —    4    5    4
Foreman and E. Souders. Vitkun and Abbott. WP — Vitkun. LP — Foreman.
Game 2
Saint James    000    03    —    3    5    1
Hancock    101    00    —    2    4    1
Beckel and Abbott. McKinley and E. Souders. WP — Beckel. LP — McKinley.

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