DUTCHTOWN — Catholic High’s baseball team put pressure on Dutchtown all game long, but it was the Griffins’ pitching that made the key plays Tuesday evening at Dutchtown.
Dutchtown’s Cole Stapler (3-1) scattered five hits in five innings, and the Griffins took control with a three-run fifth inning en route to a 7-3 District 5-5A win over Catholic.
Catholic (15-9, 4-1) had runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings, but managed just two runs. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Bears.
“We had baserunners all night,” Catholic coach Brad Bass said. “There comes a time where we’ve got to get that timely hit. We talk about it all the time. If you’re going to go 1 for 4, then do it with runners on base.”
Dutchtown (16-8, 5-0) got a single run in the second, and added three runs each in the third and fifth innings. Stapler’s two-run double in the fifth provided a 7-2 lead, and gave reliever Cadin Lawless breathing room for the final six outs.
“Any time you beat a team like Catholic High, it’s a big win,” said Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre, who said he was also pleased with the ground his team gained in the power rankings.
“We don’t talk about winning the district, we talk about power rankings for the playoffs. Tonight was a big game in the power rankings because (Catholic) was ahead of us.”
Dutchtown got started with a run off of Catholic starter Ross Massey (4-1) in the second. Stapler hit a one-out double to center, and, after a groundout, courtesy runner Aidan Hodges scored on a wild pitch.
The Griffins came back for three more runs in the bottom of the third. A pair of singles and a hit batter helped load the bases for designated hitter Alex Thibodeaux with two outs. Thibodeaux stroked a two-run single to right leaving runners at the corners.
Mason Nickens scored the third run on a delayed steal of home after Thibodeaux broke for second, and got caught in a rundown. He eventually made it to second after the throw home wasn’t in time to catch Nickens.
Dutchtown led 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, and got a pair of inning-opening singles from Gran McRory and Robbie Podorsky. Austin Bain bunted the ball back to Massey, but first baseman Austin Devillier didn’t get a glove on Massey’s throw allowing McRory to score.
Two batters later, Stapler drilled a full count pitch to left-center for a two-run double.
“Credit (Dutchtown). We made a few mistakes, and when you do that good teams make you pay,” Bass said. “They’re a good baseball team. I thought Stapler pitched a really good game for them.”
Catholic briefly tied the game with an unearned run in the third. Jordan Romero hit a one-out double down the left-field line, and scored on Corey Free’s grounder to first.
Dutchtown first baseman Evan Richardson fielded Free’s grounder as Stapler moved to cover first. Free tossed the ball to Stapler, who couldn’t handle the throw as he tried to find the bag. The miscue allowed Romero to score from second.
In the fourth, Tommy Mainieri walked, and later came around to score on a Stapler wild pitch. With runners at the corners, Stapler got out of the inning when Romero hit a soft liner to shortstop.
Free led off the fifth with a single, but Devillier hit into a double play, and Austin Sulik fouled out to first.
“I was proud of (Stapler),” Schexnaydre said. “He kept wanting the ball, and he made big pitches when he had to. He kept us in the ballgame because they had runners on base every inning.”