In a cold, windy Thursday afternoon game, the Benton Cardinals turned up the heat in their game against the Bishop LeBlond Eagles at Phil Welch Stadium.
Benton took LeBlond down 11-3, despite not scoring for the first three innings of the game. The go-ahead run for the Cardinals (8-3) came in the fifth inning when junior Tanner Schmidt knocked in a run after beating out a throw on a slow ground ball to the shortstop.
Schmidt says he was trying to raise the team’s spirits due to the cold weather, and his RBI was exactly what they needed.
“We had a slow start,” Schmidt said. “It was a crappy day. Anything to help the team out, get a little go-ahead and some energy. It felt nice. We just needed to get something to fire us up, and we got it going.”
The Cardinals padded their then 3-2 lead when sophomore Quinton Redemer took a pitch all the way over the left field wall for a two-run home run. This was Redemer’s first home run of his high school career.
“Honestly, I thought it was going to go foul,” Redemer said. “I was running it out because that’s what you do. It feels amazing. This is my first varsity game actually playing, and it feels great to actually hit a home run.”
LeBlond (2-7) struck first early in the bottom of the second inning when the Eagles brought two runs across home plate thanks to back-to-back bases-loaded walks by senior pitcher Austin McClure. However, McClure buckled down and pitched five innings with seven strikeouts and five walks. McClure also had a pair of hits and drove in three RBIs, as well.
LeBlond didn’t score again until it was too little, too late in the bottom of the seventh inning.
LeBlond senior pitcher Frankie Gall pitched five innings and struck out seven, just as McClure did. Coy thinks it was Gall’s effectiveness on the mound that deterred the Cardinals rather than the chilly weather.
“It is cold out here, but Frankie Gall is a great pitcher,” Coy said. “He had his curveball working, and our guys kept taking it over and over. He gave us some problems. Hats off to Frankie. He’s a great pitcher, and we started to figure him out a little bit.”
After having a five-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night by Savannah, Coy made sure his team moved on.
“I told the guys to forget about it,” Coy said. “I told them you got to play a full seven-inning game, and one inning can cost us. One inning cost us last night. I told the guys that we’re not playing LeBlond, we’re not playing Savannah, we’re playing ourselves every single night. If we do everything we’re supposed to be doing on offense and defense, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Benton and LeBlond will square up once again at the Pony Express Tournament on Monday.