The St. Louis U. High baseball team bounced back from an ugly 7-5 loss against CBC in a rematch with the Cadets, winning narrowly 2-1.
SLUH entrusted the game ball with its number one starter, sophomore Garret Shearer, and CBC opted to roll with Missouri State commit junior Tyler Charlton. Shearer made his fifth start of the season for the Jr. Bills, while Charlton entered the game boasting a sub-two ERA and a 4-0 record. Right from the get-go, it was clear that this would shape out to be a full-on pitchers duel.
Shearer gave the Jr. Bills his best outing of the season, as he clawed his way through the CBC lineup for a six inning, 92-pitch clinic. Against a stacked CBC roster, Shearer allowed only one run, surrendered only one walk, and struck out four Cadets to give his team a chance to win the ballgame.
On the other side, Charlton matched Shearer’s brilliance, needing only 69 pitches to throw a complete game, yielding just two hits and no free bases, while striking out nine in the process. This forced the SLUH offense to get creative and make the most of the runners they got on base using a small-ball mentality.
Senior Jake Noonan picked up one of SLUH’s two hits, a scorching line drive into the right field gap that he stretched to a double in the bottom of the third inning. Noonan was able to advance to third base on the next play, putting himself 90 feet from home with only one out. Junior Alex Shelton, batting in the leadoff spot, plated Noonan with a deep RBI sac fly which gave the Jr. Bills the first lead of the game.
The Cadets quickly matched the Jr. Bills, as they scratched across their only run off of Shearer in the top of the fourth to tie the game.
SLUH was gifted an opportunity in the bottom of sixth as Shelton picked up two bases on an error by the Cadets’ left fielder. Charlton continued to shut down the Jr. Bill bats, so Shelton found a way to do it on his own. He caught the third baseman sleeping and swiped third base before Charlton had even stepped on the rubber. 90 feet away, Shelton made a dash for home on a wild pitch and scored, regaining the lead for the Jr. Bills.
SLUH needed to put up a zero in the seventh to come away with its first conference win of the season, but Shearer surpassed his maximum pitch count the previous inning, so the team turned to senior Tommy Pollard to shut the door.
Pollard put a quick out on the scoreboard but then surrendered a base hit. With a runner on first, drama ensued. The Cadets’ leadoff batter hit a deep fly ball into the left field corner which was caught by junior Patrick Mooney but then bobbled on the transfer. Yet, the home plate umpire did not have the same viewpoint and ruled that Mooney dropped the ball altogether, leaving runners on first and third with only one out.
Pollard kept his composure on the mound against the heart of CBC’s lineup, as he struck out the number two hitter on a changeup in the dirt for the second out of the inning.
CBC tried to play some small ball of their own, but their attempt at a suicide squeeze resulted in a bunt straight back to Pollard which he routinely flipped to first base to get out of the jam and earn the save for the Jr. Bills’ 2-1 win.
The Jr. Billikens had a pair of games rained out against Parkway South on Saturday, April 17 which they will look to reschedule in the next couple weeks. The varsity team will go on the road tonight against conference rival De Smet (7-12) for a 4:30 p.m. showdown. They’ll get a second crack at the Spartans on Friday night, this time with a 7:00 p.m. start under the lights at Sheridan Stadium. To round out the weekend, the Jr. Bills will venture across the river to face Edwardsville, the area’s number one team, at 12:15 p.m., immediately followed by a contest against O’Fallon.
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