OTTAWA — As Monday's nonconference home contest against Indian Creek went longer, the Marquette Academy Crusaders baseball club hit the ball harder.
Especially Bryce Foster.
Foster launched a two-run home run in the fourth that ricocheted two-thirds of the way up the trees far beyond the fence in left-center, then added a walk-off, three-run bomb just slightly less far in the Crusaders' 14-4, five-inning victory here Monday at Masinelli Field.
"It took us a while to get going. Give (Indian Creek) credit, they jumped on us," said Crusaders skipper Todd Hopkins. "I thought they played a good game. We didn't play our best at first ... but we were able to do what we needed to do.
"We adjusted a bit at the plate, which is what you have to do. That's what we keep drilling into (the team's) head — every day's different, every at-bat's different. It took a while, but we did get to it."
Marquette (18-2) did indeed get off to a slow start against Indian Creek (9-10-1).
The Timberwolves took a 2-0 lead through half an inning as Cru southpaw starter Max Mitchell struggled placing his fastball, his wildness setting up IC No. 6 hitter Ethan Johanningsmeier for a two-run, opposite-field single to right. Marquette answered back with an unearned run in the home half.
Then, as its lineup got more looks at IC starter Raymond Ragan's unconventional armslot and deliberate approach, added another run in the second (Michael Killelea triple followed by the first of two RBI three-baggers off the bat of Jack Snook), two in the third, then a game-breaking seven-run fourth (Snook's aforementioned second run-scoring triple, Kyle Cook sacrifice fly, Logan Komater RBI triple, Foster two-run homer, Haydon Price RBI double).
With Hunter McAlpine (1 IP, 1 ER, 2 K) on in relief of winning pitcher Mitchell (4 IP, 3 ER, 4 K), the Timberwolves added their fourth run on Johanningsmeier's third RBI of the day in the fifth, bringing the score to 11-4. With two on and two away in the bottom of the fifth, Foster stepped up and ended it with one more potent swing, giving him two homers and five runs batted in on the day.
"It took (Ragan) a while to pitch, and everyone was just a little fast on it and anxious to hit it," said Foster. "We just made adjustments our second time through and hit the ball. Everybody was hitting, it felt good, and everybody just worked as a team. We have good chemistry this year.
"Both (of the home runs) felt real good. The first one I was kind of iffy about, but the second one I felt confident going up to the plate, and I knew it was gone."
Luke Couch (three runs scored), Komater and Snook also enjoyed two-hit days for the Crusaders offense, which stung Ragan (3 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 3 K) with the loss after the short-arming righty's solid start.
"To me it seemed like we sat back a little bit," said IC coach Kevin Poterek, "and we just didn't have the energy. Marquette did what they needed to do — got hits in the gap, moved guys around. To me we just had a letdown after a full week of games ... we just didn't come to play mentally.
"Today (Ragan) was doing well being in the zone, minimizing pitches. A couple plays here and there we just weren't there to make the plays for him."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Marquette 14, Indian Creek 4 (5 inn.)
INDIAN CREEK (4) — Cursio dh 3-1-1-0, McCoy ss 2-1-1-1, Rissman c 3-0-0-0, Swanson cf 1-1-1-0, Larsen lf 3-0-0-0, Johanningsmeier 1b 3-0-1-3, Ragan p/rf 2-1-1-0, Wild rf 1-0-0-0, Bogle 2b 2-0-0-0, B. Wortman 3b 0-0-0-0, J. Wortman p 1-0-0-0. Totals 21-4-5-4.
MARQUETTE (14) — Na. Melvin ss 3-1-1-0, Couch 2b 3-3-2-0, Komater cf 3-2-2-1, Foster 3b 3-2-2-5, Dyche c 3-0-1-0, Killelea 1b 2-2-1-0, Price dh 2-1-0-1, Snook rf/lf 3-1-2-2, Cook lf 1-0-0-1, Mitchell p 0-0-0-0, J. Durdan ph 1-0-0-0, N. Melvin cr/ph 1-2-1-0, McAlpine p 0-0-0-0, C. Durdan rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 26-14-12-10.
Indian Creek (9-10-1) 200 11 — 4 5 4
Marquette (18-2) 112 73 — 14 12 1
LOB - IC 8; Marquette 3. 2B - Swanson, Price. 3B - Snook 2, Killelea, Komater. HR - Foster 2. SF - Cook. SB - Couch, Komater, Foster. CS - Komater.
Indian Creek ip r er h bb k
Ragan (L) 3.2 11 4 11 3 3
J. Wortman 1.0 3 3 2 1 0
Mitchell (W) 4.0 3 3 3 6 4
McAlpine 1.0 1 1 2 0 2
Foster homered to end the game with two outs.