Lourdes rallies past P-E-M in battle of 1AA baseball powers
Joe Sperry hit a two-run homer and pitched a complete-game four-hitter with 13 strikeouts as Lourdes beat P-E-M 6-4 in a rematch of last year's Section 1AA title game.
Lourdes baseball coach Dave Jenson was quick to point out the Eagles were not in revenge mode when they faced Plainview-Elgin-Millville on Saturday. But emotions ran high on both sides and the game had a playoff-level intensity.
Last spring P-E-M defeated Lourdes in the Section 1AA finals to earn a state berth. Both teams are strong again this season and on a warm sunny morning at Mayo Field, Lourdes rallied for a 6-4 victory.
“I’m sure our kids really wanted to win the game because of how we lost in the playoffs last year,” Jenson said. “But I’ve talked all year — we have no revenge games — this is a new team from last year. So for us each game is important and we’re trying to build towards sections.”
Senior Joe Sperry was the emotional leader for the Eagles. He hit a two-run homer to put Lourdes up 2-0 in the third inning and he stomped on home plate after rounding the bases. On the mound, he pitched a four-hitter with 13 strikeouts and did not allow an earned run.
“We were very locked in on the game,” Sperry said. “It was a very emotional game, because we know what was at stake. I wanted to go out there and pitch for my guys, hit for my guys, and it was a lot of fun.”
What is at stake is a likely higher section seeding. Both teams are strong again this season, and coming off a hectic week. Lourdes capped a busy and perfect week by going 6-0 and is now 10-3. P-E-M went 3-2 in its five games and has another doubleheader coming up on Tuesday while playing five more games this coming week.
“We had to kind of piece it together with our pitching staff because we have a lot (of games) this week,” P-E-M coach Scott Flattum said.
After Sperry's fourth homer of the season put Lourdes on top, the Bulldogs rallied for four runs in the fourth inning. The Eagles had three errors to set up the inning while P-E-M had three of their four hits in the frame. Braxton Tlougan delivered a two-run single and Carson Reeve added an RBI single to put the Bulldogs up 4-2.
“I was proud of our two-strike hitting, too,” Flattum said. “We put the ball in play the inning that we got four runs. Kudos to our kids because that’s what we’ve been preaching, get up there, get your hacks in and with two strikes put the ball in play.”
Lourdes struck back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth off lefty Owen Rademacher, the second of three P-E-M pitchers. Seth Haight and Gannon Fix had back-to-back RBI singles and the go-ahead run scored on an error after Fix's single. Nick Bowron then followed with a run-scoring double to conclude the scoring.
“That was a good gut check for us,” Jenson said. “We came together, put balls in play and it was great for us to battle throughout the game.”
The hard-throwing Sperry was exceptional after P-E-M put up its runs in the fourth. The right-hander did not allow another hit and retired 11 of the last 12 hitters he faced, six by strikeout.
“This is the first time I really let him get stretched out,” Jenson said of Sperry. “... We’ve been building him up and it was good for him to extend like that.”
Sperry reached the maximum of 105 pitches in the contest.
“We know that we might get them in sections again so it was good to get the comeback win in a little bit of a rematch,” Sperry said. “It was a fun game on both sides.”
Lourdes has yet to lose to a Class AA team this season. P-E-M is 9-4 and the four losses have been by a total of five runs.
The Eagles will host Cannon Falls on Monday at Mayo Field and will honor former coach Doug Hudson and the 2002 team on the 20th anniversary of its state championship.
Lourdes 6, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 4
Plainview-Elgin-Millville: Baden Fenton 1 R; Carson Reeve 1-for-3; Johhny Evers 1-for-2,1 R; Jameson Brinkman 1 R; Braxton Tlougan 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 R; Peyton Schumacher 1-for-3. Pitchers: Jameson Brinkman 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K; Owen Rademacher (LP) 1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K; Jason Feils 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Lourdes: Cole Smith 1 R; Nick Bowron 1-for-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Gannon Fix 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 R; Joe Sperry 1-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R; Seth Haight 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 R; Brendan Davick 1-for-3, 1 2B; Isaac Wenszell 2-for-4, 2 R. Pitcher: Joe Sperry (WP) 7 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K.