MT. VERNON – St. Mary opened the junior high baseball season with a 21-3 short-game victory over Opdyke-Belle Rive Monday at Lincoln Park.
“For the first game you just want to win and get the jitters out,” said St. Mary coach Ray Garrett. “I think it was just a lot of nervousness. They hit off me in practice and I’m throwing it in the same spot over and over with the same speed. It makes it easier on them to see different spots.”
The Knights put the game away in the top of the first inning by scoring 10 runs.
“We didn’t hit the ball hard on the nose a lot [in the first inning],” said Garrett. “[Kayden] McGee [OBR starting pitcher] throws some off-speed stuff and curveballs, so I thought we were off balance a little bit. Maybe we didn’t get the meat of the bat as much as we’d like to.”
St. Mary also took advantage of seven walks by the Roadrunners and two errors. McGee was only able to retire two batters of the 13 he faced before giving way to Tyler Kemp.
“We’re a young team,” said OBR coach Zach Brookman. “We don’t have any eighth-graders this year. A lot of it is just getting better and getting ready for next year and trying to win games this year.”
The Knights scored three more times in the second, six in the third and twice in the fourth.
“I started Gabe Luttinen and trying to get him some innings,” said Garrett. “They’ve got the pitch count rules this year for junior high, which means you’ll have to use more pitchers. I’m trying to create some depth early in the season. We did alright today. We had guys pitch today that don’t normally pitch, so I’m happy with that.”
OBR broke through with three runs in the third inning.
“It’s definitely tough to come out the first game of the year and play a pretty good team,” said Brookman. “It’s hard to simulate live pitching. We’ve had guys throwing all week and I’ve been throwing, but it’s still not the same as getting into a game in front of a bunch of people.”
St. Mary is in Central City today and at Waltonville on Friday. OBR is back in action Friday when they challenge Rome at Lincoln Park. All three games start at 4 o’clock.
“We’ll have a lot of guys throwing this year so everyone will have to be ready,” said Brookman. “We threw three guys tonight and they’ll probably be at least three guys throwing on Friday. Everyone will have to get better and I think everyone will get better that way.”