May 14th, 2018

No longer perfect, but St. X working on new streak

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

No longer perfect, but St. X working on new streak
St. X's Aric Lyons at the plate / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier’s baseball team no longer has a perfect season, but the dreams of winning a regional and state championship are there.

Playing in their second game since losing for the first time this season, the Tigers had to score four runs in the sixth inning to dismantle visiting Marion County 8-5 Monday night.

McCracken County ended St. X’s perfect season last Saturday with a 10-inning 7-6 victory in Paducah. Along with it, the club finished one game shy of tying the record for the longest win streak in school history. But, the group left with a new streak beating Union County 10-0 immediately after the loss.

The reactions on if the loss took pressure off the team was mixed.  

St. Xavier head coach Andy Porta: “I don’t buy into all that talk. I don’t think the kids bought into the pressure. I think the kids wanted to keep it rolling. A lot of people publicly in the building said they were glad the loss happened. I figured once you get into postseason everybody has the same kind of pressure. You either win or go home. It is what it is and you hope to bounce back.”

Cam Scheler: “We’re fine. We beat ourselves. We enjoy the pressure and that’s what we want. That’s what you get in the state tournament. Everybody takes their best shot at us. We handle pressure well, we deal with it all season. It was a loss, but the pressure was fine.”

Ryan Nicholson: “I think there was definitely some pressure, but we usually like the spotlight on us. But, I definitely feel that there’s some pressure off of us now that the loss is out of the way. In hindsight, it was a good one. We learned some things and that was pressure packed baseball for 10 innings. We got a lot of experience.”

Trey Sweeney: “There was definitely pressure that came along with the streak. That loss is just going to help us in the long run. I’d rather lose now than later. I guess you could say that it was good for us to lose now and we can start a new streak. Hopefully we carry the new streak to the end of the season.”

With Monday’s win, the new winning streak is at two, but the Knights (12-16) put up a fight coming back from a two-run deficit twice. The score was tied at four in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Tigers (25-1) scored four runs to blow the game open.

Cam Scheler blasted a two-run double to make it 6-4, Ryan Nicholson made it 7-4 with an RBI triple, and Xander Adams made it 8-4 when he hit a sacrifice fly to score a run.

“He was working his curveball,” Scheler said. “His first pitch was a curveball every time. I let the first go by. The second time he hung a curveball and I took it down the line.”

The Knights got a run back in the seventh when Travis Wiser singled home a run.

“Marion County has a nice little ball club and several upperclassmen,” Porta said. “They were one win away from making the state championship game last year so they know what it takes. Their record may not show it. But, I’m sure they have a target on their back in the Fifth Region just like we do in our region.”

Noah Nelson started on the hill for St. X and allowed three runs; three hits, walked struck out three, and walked one in 3 & 1/3 innings. Nathan Waldridge tossed 1 & 2/3 innings and gave up two runs, whiffed three, and walked one. Leighton Keller threw the final inning and gave up one run, one hit, and walked one.

Ryan Lee Hayes started for Marion County and threw five innings and allowed four runs, seven hits, struck out one, walked two and plunked one. Grant Brown threw 1/3 of an inning and allowed four runs, four runs and three hits. Kelly Mattingly threw 2/3 of an inning and gave up one hit.

“I think sometimes we need to take a simple approach,” Nicholson said. “Sometimes we’re all trying to be the hero and swing for the fences. You have to make the good and simple plays – move runners over – bunts, sacrifice flies, and get hits.”


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