By BRADEN LAYER
---- — LOUISVILLE -- There wasn't much for North Clay baseball coach John Frech to be upset about on Monday. His Cardinals were dominant from the start, scoring five runs in the first two innings to open up a solid lead over visiting Grayville.
The Bison scored their only two runs in the top of the fifth, but there was no stopping North Clay at the plate. Frech's squad plated seven more before the end of the game, winning 12-2 on a game that was called after the fifth for the mercy rule."It's hard gauging an opponent like that," Frech said. "Just because the matchup isn't there. They compete, they play hard."After an RBI double from Adam Cox plated Lawson Britton in the first inning, the Cardinals scored four in the second to take a commanding five-run lead. Dylan Walker and Stetsen Traub opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Walker scored two batters later on a passed ball, and Traub reached home plate when Braden McNeely was out on a ground ball he ripped to first.The last two runs came on wild pitches from Grayville starter Keegan Ready, who along with Bison catcher Clayton Hall, struggled to find any real rhythm. The pair combined for a total of 10 wild pitches or passed balls.Grayville tried to make things interesting in the third inning, when two singles and a sacrifice bunt gave the Bison runners on second and third with one out. But North Clay pitcher Jordon Byers escaped without any damage. Byers got Ready to line one to center field for an out, and fanned Torin Lee one batter later to hold Grayville off the board."It's a big win for somebody like Jordon who doesn't get to pitch for us very often," Frech said. "It's a stepping stone for him because in the future he's going to be the number two or three, maybe the number one guy."Having stalled the Bison offense, North Clay busted the game wide open with a six-run fourth inning. Two Cardinal baserunners scored on wild pitches, and two more scored on a pair of passed balls. Dylan Walker singled to left field for an additional two North Clay runs.The Bison avoided the shutout in the top of the fifth, but North Clay put a stamp on the game in the bottom of the inning. Needing one run to put the game on ice for the mercy rule, Cox tore into a pitch he sent to the center-field wall for a game-ending RBI double, giving the Cardinals a 10-run win."He's got the right approach at the plate," Frech said. "Lately Adam has been hot, as long as he stays on that track we'll be fine."The entire North Clay lineup seemed hot on Monday afternoon, as the Cardinal offense delivered thirteen hits off Ready. Cox and Walker both finished with two RBIs, and Nathan Micklautz and McNeely drove in one run apiece."Our offense is going to be alright most of the time," Frech said.On the mound, Byers pitched all five innings for the Cardinals, striking out four with one batter walked to pick up the win.North Clay improved to 10-3 on the season with the victory, while Grayville fell to 0-7.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com
Grayville	0 0 0	0 2 x	x	2 5 2North Clay	1 4 0	6 1 x	x	12 13 0WP - Byers	LP - Ready
Grayville: Ready (2B, 2 RBI); Hall (1B); Ramos (2 1B); Burdin (1B).North Clay: Britton (3 1B, 2B); Micklautz (2 1B, RBI); Cox (2 2B, 1B, 2 RBI); Walker (2 1B, 2 RBI); Traubt (2 1B); McNeely (1B, RBI).