Stewart’s grand slam powers Tigers past Mustangs
NORTH EAST — With one swing, Jack Stewart provided all the runs Rising Sun would need to snap its three-game losing streak.
The left-handed swinging center fielder connected for a grand slam in the first inning and finished the contest with two hits, including a double, a walk, two runs scored and five RBIs as the Tigers defeated visiting C.M. Wright 14-3 in five innings in Chesapeake Division baseball action on Wednesday.
With one out, one run on the scoreaboard and the bases loaded, Stewart connected on a fastball from Mustangs starter Allan Hokanson and deposited it several feet beyond the batter’s eye in center field. Three innings later, he doubled and crossed the plate as part of a five-run fourth inning that allowed Rising Sun (2-4 overall, 1-3 division) to 10-run its opponent.
“I’m a low ball hitter and I saw this beautiful fastball low and inside and I knew I had to take it for a little ride,” Stewart said of his grand slam that gave his squad an early 5-0 advantage in the opening frame. “In recent games we’ve gotten the lead but we weren’t able to stick with the game and play defense. I guess [the big first inning] gave us so much enthusiasm and we just kept going from that lead … and did everything we had to do.”
Senior starting pitcher Noah Juergens went the distance for the Tigers, allowing three runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts. He danced around a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the second inning when his defense turned an unlikely double play on an infield fly rule, while in the third inning, he struck out the side.
“Noah is our No. 1 [pitcher],” Rising Sun coach Clyde Van Dyke said. “I’m not going to say Noah’s thrown the ball as well as he had last year but today mirrored his performances last year. He hasn’t thrown the ball bad but he hasn’t gotten the defense or offensive support from his teammates when he’s bitten. That’s been his biggest problem but today he got both.” After he allowed two runs to score in a shaky fourth frame, Juregens responded by retiring C.M. Wright (4-2, 3-1) in order in the fifth to seal the win. The senior currently owns both of the Tigers’ wins on the season after he also recorded a five-inning no-hitter against lower-division opponent Perryville on March 23.
“I want every game, but this one, especially, we were kind of in a slump. We lost three in a row to upper-conference opponents and C.M. Wright was first in the division and we held them to three runs,” Juergens said. “We played defense, we hit the ball well and we scored 14 runs. It’s a good step in the right direction.”
Leadoff hitter Aaron Richardson went 3-3 with a double and three runs scored, Phil Lyons finished 2-2 with a walk and two RBIs and Andrew Anders added a hit and two RBIs for Rising Sun, which received a two-run single from Nate McCullough and an RBI and run from Asher Sloman.
“Compared to what we’ve been doing this year, this felt real good,” Van Dyke said. “I told someone the other day when we hit we don’t play D, when we play D we don’t hit and when we hit and play D we don’t get pitching. It was nice today to have all three at the same time.”
Rising Sun senior Jack Stewart smiles as he rounds third base following a grand slam during the first inning of his team’s 14-3 victory in five innings over visiting C.M. Wright in Chesapeake Division baseball action on Wednesday.