OTTAWA — While a baseball team having 12 straight days off due to inclement weather is never preferable, the situation seemed to agree with Marquette Academy's Bryce Foster and the rest of the Crusaders.
Foster struggled a little bit with rust on the mound in the early-going, but settled in to pitch five innings of eight-strikeout, two-hit, shutout baseball, while at the plate going 3-for-3 with four runs batted in to lead the Cru to a 9-3 victory over rival Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell here at Masinelli Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Logan Komater also went 3-for-3, scored twice and drove in two to help pace the hosts' 12-hit attack against WFC starter Kyle Voytko and reliever Tyler Jenkins, breaking open a 3-0 game with a four-run fifth inning. Freshman reliever Shane Reynolds was touched for all three Warriors runs in the final two frames, but finished off Marquette's Tri-County Conference opener and its eighth win in as many games overall. The two MA hurlers combined on a six-hitter and forced the visitors (2-5, 1-2) to strand a whopping 11 runners on base for the game.
"I don't know if this was about rust because (WFC's) in the same boat. We all are," said Marquette coach Todd Hopkins. "We just have to play better. ... Brad (Waldron, assistant coach) has been getting on Bryce about trusting his curveball, and about the third or fourth inning he started believing in it and it helped him out. He got behind in counts, walked too many and there were some balls that I thought we should have got to, especially when Shane was pitching — they shouldn't have scored a run — but we have to do a better job on the defensive end of this.
"Give Voytko credit. He pitched a whale of a ballgame, did a nice job keeping us off-balance, but we have to do a better job of swinging the bats, too. ... Fortunately, we got the job done. Hopefully this weather will break and we'll have a nice day when we go there Thursday."
Foster walked three and hit two batters in the first three hitless innings, but helped himself to the lead in the opening inning. A double by Nate Melvin and a sacrifice fly by Foster gave the home team the lead on Voytko. A single by Luke Couch, Komater being hit by a pitch and an RBI single by Foster that was erred plated two more in the third frame.
It was a triple by Melvin that ignited the big fifth inning. Komater followed with an RBI hit, then scored all the way from first base on a double to deep center field by Foster. Zach Dyche drew a walk, and after a pinch-hit RBI single by Connor Durdan, he and Durdan worked a double steal to net the final run of the rally.
Run-scoring singles by Komater and Foster in the sixth padded the lead, but only after WFC broke through against Reynolds in the top half.
With two outs, the second of two hits by Clayton Sibert, an error and a bloop two-run single by Collin Hjerpe broke the blanking, and in the top of the seventh, a lead-off two-bagger by Chandler Hillebrenner and an RBI single by Trevor Derossett notched the final run against Reynolds.
"I don't know how many we left on base, but it sure seemed like a lot," said WFC coach "Bubs" Hoffman. "We got guys on all day, but we could not buy a hit when we needed one until late in the game, and it was too late then. That was the difference in the game. They got the hits when they got guys on and we just couldn't get it done today. ... We talked about (Foster) before the game, that if he was throwing strikes to go up there swinging the bats. He was a little erratic at times, but he made the pitches when he needed to.
"Kyle's been giving us what we needed this year and pitched a very nice game for us today. He was very efficient with his pitches until that fifth inning. Until then, he kinda coasted along and gave us an opportunity. We just couldn't do it for him."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Marquette 9, WFC 3
WFC (3) — Jenkins ss-p 2-0-0-0, Hjerpe 3b-ss 4-0-1-2, Voytko p-1b 3-0-1-0, Hillebrenner 1b-3b 3-1-1-0, Albertson dh 4-0-0-0, Redd lf 0-0-0-0, Ewing cf 3-0-0-0, Dodge 2b 2-0-0-0, Derossett cr-2b 1-1-1-1, Sibert c 4-0-1-1, Simpson rf 2-1-0-0. Totals 28-3-6-3.
MARQUETTE (9) — Melvin ss 4-2-2-0, Couch 2b 4-2-2-0, Komater cf 3-2-3-2, Foster p-3b 3-1-3-4, Dyche c 3-1-0-0, Price dh 2-0-0-0, Durdan dh 2-0-1-1, McAlpine 3b 0-0-0-0, Killelea 1b 3-0-0-0, Snook rf 2-0-0-0, Cook lf 3-1-1-0 . Totals 29-9-12-7.
WFC (2-5, 1-2) 000 002 1 — 3 6 3
Marquette (8-0, 1-0) 201 042 x — 9 12 1
LOB - WFC 11, Marquette 6. 2B - Hillebrenner, Melvin, Foster. 3B - Melvin. SF - Foster. SB - Komater, Dyche. HBP - Jenkins, Ewing (by Foster), Komater (by Voytko).
WFC ip r er h bb k
Voytko (L) 5.0 7 5 8 2 6
Jenkins 1.0 2 2 4 0 0
Foster (W) 5.0 0 0 2 4 8
Reynolds 2.0 3 1 4 1 2