St. James Academy baseball team advances to state semifinals
The St. James Academy baseball team defeated Trinity Academy, 9-0, at Dean Evans Stadium in the first round of Salina’s 4A state tournament on Friday.
No. 7 St. James went scoreless in the first inning, but grabbed two runs in the second when a runner scored on a wild pitch and then tacked on another run when a player stole home against No. 3 Trinity.
After getting a three-run lead, the Thunder added another four runs in the fourth innings putting the game out of reach for its opponent.
Like many times before in a tournament scenario, the Thunder rolled out their ace against the Knights in senior Matt Eckelman.
Eckelman pitched four scoreless innings — including seven strikeouts — while allowing one hit and one walk.
Ryan McCourt notched two innings of shutout ball before Steven Gillespie finished off the seventh inning to clinch the Thunder’s place in Saturday’s semifinals.
Other key contributors for the Thunder included Austin Murrell, who went 3-for-5 on the day and scored two runs.
Otto Kaffes and David Maddock both had solid days at the plate with two hits apiece. Second baseman Matthew Wagner also scored two runs.
St. James improved to 17-6 record on the season.
The Thunder will begin the day against Mulvane at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the semifinal round.