St. James baseball outduels Bishop Miege
St. James Academy has gotten plenty good at putting away opponents once it has them down this season. Four run-rule victories and a six-run margin against Bishop Ward are proof of that.
On Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the Thunder showed a bit of resiliency they hadn’t had to call on yet this season when they rallied past Catholic rival Bishop Miege, 7-6.
“It was one of those back-and-forth games,” St. James coach Brian Bucklin said. “I remember telling them between innings, ‘I’ve got all the confidence in the world that we’re going to score some more runs.’ I think they all believed in themselves that they were going to get it done, so that was kind of neat to see.”
St. James capitalized on a few early walks when Brent Mitchell drove home a run in the top of the first inning. Adam Burns and Jake Wodtke added run-scoring singles in the top of the second before Miege plated a run in the bottom of the inning and pulled to within 3-1.
A four-run fourth inning by Miege gave the Stags a 5-3 lead.
St. James slowly chipped away at the lead. Dougie Leikam doubled home Nick Deichler in the fifth. The Thunder plated two more runs in the top of the sixth for a 6-5 lead, but Miege answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Twice the lead disappeared, but the Thunder refused to let a victory escape their grasp.
After back-to-back strikeouts to start the seventh inning, Thomas Maddock was plunked by a pitch. Andrew Tenbrink came up next and belted a double to the wall in left-center field. Maddock sprinted all the way around to score the go-ahead run.
From there, it was up to pitcher Adam Burns to shut down the Stags in the bottom of the seventh. He struck out the first batter he faced, and then coaxed the next two batters to ground out.
Bucklin praised his team for developing greater confidence as the season has progressed. He noted that five of St. James’ seven runs against Miege came from the bottom third of the lineup.
“We know we can get production all the way up and down the lineup, and that makes it harder to pitch to us, that’s for sure,” he said. “We know we can get things done at any point in time. The guys are starting to trust each other more that the next guy is going to get the job done. We talk all the time about trusting the guys around you, getting the next guy up and trusting the guy behind you. They’re doing a good job of that right now.”
St. James has won seven straight since losing its season-opener to Lawrence Free State. The Thunder (7-1) next play at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Rockhurst (Mo.) at Mid-America Sports Complex.