Baseball: St. Paul drops first game to Kennedy, 10-5
All good things must come to an end, as the St. Paul baseball team learned first hand Monday night against the Kennedy Trojans.
After winning their first six games to open the season, the No. 6 Buckaroos (6-1, 3-1 Special District 2) had their streak snapped at home in a 10-5 loss to the No. 2 Kennedy Trojans (9-1, 3-0 SD2).
With the victory, the Trojans vaulted over the Buckaroos for first place in the league standings, where they sit as the lone unbeaten team in the conference.
The contest pit the two top teams in the conference against each other for the first time this season, and Kennedy was quick to get on the scoreboard against St. Paul starter Jaidyn Jackson.
Trojan freshman Dylan Kleinschmit singled up the middle to open the game and moved into scoring position two batters later when Bruce Beyer connected for a base hit in the same spot. Brady Traeger reached base on an error to load the bases, leading to an RBI-double from Angel De La Rosa that drove in Kleinschmit and Beyer.
Jackson was able to get the next two batters to pop out to end the inning, and the two teams traded scoreless frames in the second and third.
Kennedy added four more runs in the top of the fourth to make it 6-0, driving Jackson out of the game in favor of reliever Holden Smith.
But the Bucks answered back in the bottom of the inning when T.J. Crawford hit a double with the bases loaded to drive in three runs. Teammate Zach Brentano followed with a single two batters later to drive in Crawford, bringing the Bucks to within 6-4 before the Trojans ended the rally.
Justin Herberger added another run in the fifth to pull St. Paul to within one, but Kennedy answered back with two runs in the sixth to make it 8-5.
The Trojans turned to Daniel Moreno to finish the game, relieving Traeger after nearly six innings of work.
Moreno held the Bucks scoreless for the final two innings while Traeger added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh with an RBI-double to bring the game to 10-5.
Traeger finished the game with the win on the mound, striking out seven while giving up three earned runs in five and two-thirds innings. He went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
De La Rosa went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, while Beyer was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with two RBIs and four runs scored.
Campbell Smith led the Bucks with a pair of hits and a run scored, while Crawford's three RBIs were a team high.
Prior to the loss, the Buckaroos had cruised through the first month of the season, reeling off a pair of big road victories last week against the Perrydale Pirates and the Western Mennonite Pioneers.
St. Paul opened last week with a 14-6 victory at Perrydale (2-4, 1-2 SD2) on April 3 and closed it with an 8-1 win over Western Mennonite (4-6, 1-1) on Friday.
The Bucks were put in a rare position through the first six games of the season against Perrydale after the Pirates took advantage of some loose play and put five runs up on the board without the benefit of registering a hit.
But once St. Paul found its rhythm on offense, the Bucks came storming back. Junior lefty Rawley Koch took the mound in relief to pick up the win, while the offense nearly matched its season high by putting up 14 runs against the Pirates.
In the follow-up game against the Pioneers, St. Paul went back to the formula that has served them well through the first month of the season — big offense backed by solid defense.
Herberger got the start on the mound for the Buckaroos and gave himself a 3-0 lead before he even logged his first pitch. Teammates Bradey Weise and Jackson each reached base to open the game, and Herberger drove a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to bring them home and put the Buckaroos on the board.
St. Paul added two more to their lead in the next inning when Alex Dela Cerda drew a walk and Weise singled, setting up Jackson and Herberger for RBIs that drove them both in.
Meanwhile, Herberger did his work on the pitcher's mound, mowing down eight batters in just under seven innings of work. The Pioneers were able to string together three singles in the fourth inning to drive in a run and make it 5-1, but the Bucks responded in the top of the fifth when Brentano drove in Crawford.
Campbell Smith and Koch added back-to-back base hits in the top of the sixth to drive in two more runs and bring the game to its final margin of victory. Crawford came in to relieve Herberger in the seventh, preserving the win.
Five Buckaroos finished with two hits each, led by Herberger, who went 2-for-4 with the home run and four RBIs.
The Bucks will finish the week on Friday with a non-conference showdown against the No. 3 Bandon Tigers (5-2, 2-0 Special District 5).