Ste­wart’s grand slam pow­ers Tigers past Mus­tangs

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

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.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

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.

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