Saints baseball season over with Section playoff loss

Submitted

The season ended for the St. James Saints baseball team in Section 3AA playoffs on Saturday, May 29, when they played Jackson County Central in Fairmont.

JCC 9  St. James 3    

The Saints got the #6 seed and drew the #3 seed Jackson County Central as their Subsection opponent on Saturday.

The Saints knew they would have to be on top of their game, as they fell to the Huskies twice during the regular season. 

In the first inning, Tanner Olson coaxed a two out walk and Mason Lundberg followed with an infield single but both were stranded to end the threat. 

JCC scored a pair of  runs in the bottom of the inning when Saints starter Tanner Olson walked the lead off batter, surrendered a double to the next hitter—pushing across one run before scoring their second run of the inning on a ground out to take a 2-0 lead.

The Saints would use a trio of JCC errors to tie the game in the second inning as Hunter Stevens walked. Courtesy runner Adrian Luna took second on a wild pitch in front of a Connor Jones single. On the Jones single, JCC had two throwing errors allowing Luna to score and moving Jones to third base. With one out the Saints executed a suicide squeeze as Tyler Chapin laid down the perfect bunt scoring Jones to tie the game at 2-2. 

The tie was short-lived as the Huskies batted around in the bottom of the second inning, on the way to plating six runs. JCC used four singles, a walk, a hit by pitch, two passed balls and a rare 70 foot sacrifice fly in foul territory that left home plate unoccupied to plate those runs. 

Olson settled in nicely on the mound after the second inning and kept the Saints chances alive as he worked through the third and fourth innings with no runs, while striking out three. 

The Huskies took a 9-2 lead in the fifth inning when they used a two-out single and a stolen base to put a runner on second base. A sharp single to left field scored the run, just a split second before a nicely executed 7-3-4 to get the hitter trying to stretch his single into a double. 

The Saints would get a solo run in the 6th inning as Alex Streseman led off with a clean single. After a pair of strikeouts, Sonny Heil was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Stresemann scored on a Chapin single off the end of the pitcher's glove to cut the Huskie lead to 9-3, a score that would end up as the final.

Tanner Olson was saddled with the complete game loss as he gave up 11 runs on 10 hits, walked five and hit one batter, while striking out four.

Chapin and Lundberg each had two hits in the Saints loss, while Stresemann and Jones had the other safeties for St. James. Chapin also had two RBI. 

The Saints finished the season 6-15 which wasn’t good enough for Coach Froehling. 

“We need to be better,” he said. “Too often we played well enough to win for most of the game but would have one inning that put us in a hole, usually because of walks, errors or mental mistakes. We play in a tough conference and if you give good teams extra outs, they will make you pay.”

Saints Varsity Baseball team, front from left: Cooper Olson, Tanner Olson, Uzi Sanchez, Jesus Moriel, Tyler Chapin, Adrian Luna, Alex Stresemann, and Mason Lundberg. Back row: Gracie Stevens, Emma Anderson, Coach Brian Olson, Jack Westman, Connor Jones, Michael Suarez, Hunter Stevens, Sonny Heil and Coach Landis Froehling.

“I’m really proud of our seniors—Tyler Chapin, Michael Suarez, and Uzi Sanchez—who came in with a great attitude after losing their entire junior season last year.” 

As for the next year, Froehling said, “We have almost all of our pitching coming back and that should really benefit us. And I know we will have more open competition for starting spots from day one, which is always a good thing.”