Baseball: St Edward holds off late North Boone rally
Updated: May 14, 2012 11:13PM
Considering the way a young St. Edward team had trouble holding leads at times this season, Monday’s Class 2A regional baseball opener at Wing Park against North Boone had to seem a bit like a recurring nightmare for the Green Wave.
St. Edward charged out to a 7-0 lead and appeared headed for a 10-run-rule win before North Boone struck back with five runs and actually brought the tying run up to the plate in the sixth, and again in the seventh innings. But St. Edward woke up and held on for a 9-5 victory to advance and play in a Richmond-Burton Class 2A Regional semifinal Thursday against Westminster Christian and ace pitcher Ryan Perez.
“What’s been a thing the whole year is we get a lead and get a little full of ourselves and then get a little comfortable and it came back to bite us in a St. Francis game and we eventually lost,” Green Wave senior Luke Duffy said. “We’ve got a lot of sophomores and freshmen who are doing this for the first time, this regional.
“It’s the first time they’ve played this kind of pressure -- win or you’re done -- and I don’t think they really know totally yet what’s going on. So you’ve got to remind them to stay focused and play comfortably.”
The 7-0 lead St. Edward lost to St. Francis did not get repeated again Monday because St. Edward steadied itself and scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on wild pitches for a 9-5 lead. Even then, reliever Jake Koehring had to face the tying run after three straight nub singles in the top of the seventh, but got a strikeout to end the contest for a save.
Duffy hit a two-run home run, his fourth of the year in the three-run first, and tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the two-fun fourth for the all-important sixth run in the game.
“I’ve definitely been working that first pitch, looking at the first pitch lately,” Duffy said. “I think my plate vision has gotten better.”
The Green Wave (18-16) could have made it much easier for itself earlier, but left the bases loaded in the first, third and fourth and had 10 runners left on for the game. St. Edward benfited from eight North Boone errors and scored three runs on wild pitches.
“We still haven’t reached our potential, we’re (coaches) still trying to drive into them that there’s still more there, still more fight,” coach Tim Dovichi said. “It would be a scary thing to see if they could actually execute with the bases loaded like we had them.”
Tighe Koehring had an RBI double in the second after scoring on Duffy’s first-inning homer to left-center. Mike Castoro added an RBI single in the third off losing pitcher Jason Fidder. In the fourth, Duffy tripled and came in on a wild pitch, and Jack Tierney walked and eventually came around when Antonio Domel and Ryan Nudd hit back-to-back singles.
At age 14, Jake Lafrenz (6-2) showed veteran calm for five innings to get the win, but then allowed two in the fifth and three in the sixth. Three of his runs allowed were earned, and North Boone (10-23) got seven hits off him. He struck out six and walked two.
“I had it at the beginning, but I lost it a little bit at the end,” Lafrenz said. “I just lost focus a little bit, but you’ve got to come back right after that. You’ve always got to stay in the game no matter what happens.”
St. Edward comes back with Jake Koehring against Perez of Westminster. The Green Wave came back to beat Westminster 4-3 in their only matchup this season. Regardless of the outcome, the Green Wave achieved its goal of a winning season.
“That’s very motivating for them going forward, to see they’ve achieved a goal of the year, to go over 500,” Dovichi said. “They’ve achieved that. Now they see that they can succeed and now the bar gets raised going on into the playoffs.”