St. Anthony beat South Central 2-1 at Evergreen Park Thursday afternoon in a pitcher’s duel that featured a double steal and four errors.
The Bulldogs go to 6-0 and the Cougars fall to 4-1.
In the top of the sixth with no score and South Central’s Cameron Brandt on third, pinch-running for Ethan Dunn, the Cougars pulled off a double steal with Chase Dodson stealing second and Brandt taking off for home with the tag being late giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
“Well, it was kind of gambling,” South Central head coach Curt Jones said. “It was one of those plays that we throw in there once in a while to get the catcher to throw. The first baseman (Brody Niebrugge) turned around to tag someone, and that’s what gave us the time to score.”
The Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the inning. St. Anthony’s Logan Antrim took first base for the second time in the game by getting hit by a pitch from Aaron Dodson. Antrim advanced to second as a Dodson pitch got away from South Central catcher Sebastian Cowger.
Kennan Walsh reached on base after Cougars first basemen Beau Joliff bobbled the putout scoring Antrim on the error, tying the score 1-1.
Colton Fearday hit a hard single to right field, advancing Walsh to third. Third baseman Dunn misplayed the ball trying to pick off Walsh, allowing him to score on the error, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
“We knew South Central was going to be a good team,” Antrim said. “We were trying to get ahead. I left a few pitches out there for them to hit. I had solid defense behind with guys making some plays.”
Antrim got the complete game win with one run on three walks and eight strikeouts. South Central’s Aaron Dodson took the loss with two runs, none earned while striking out three.
“He threw really, really well. I’m not disappointed with how we played at all,” Jones said. “It’s kind of like that ball at first base and the pick-off at third; things happen.”
Fearday led the Buldogs going 2-for-3, while Dodson went 1-for-2 with a walk and strikeout.
“To me, it’s all about pitching. Those guys are great. They have a really great team over there,” Jones said. “Aaron threw really well considering he’s just a sophomore.”
Jones said he was amazed at Antrim’s performance.
“He’s throwing a 2-0 curveball,” Jones said. “A 3-2 changeup for strikes. That’s hard for high school kids. He was just dealing!”
A rivalry may be brewing between the two teams as of late, even though St. Anthony head coach Tony Kreke says otherwise.
““I wouldn’t call it a rivalry,” Kreke said. “It’s just two good teams going at it each time we play. They have a great team. We have a good one too.”
Kreke said he though the team would start hitting against a good pitcher in the Cougars’ Dodson.
“I knew our bats would come around. The first time through I thought we had a good look at them. The second time through I thought we started taking a lot better approaches up there,” he said. Then the third time through, you saw we were able to barrel some things up and get some guys on base and execute.”
“It’s always been a challenge(between the two teams),” Antrim said. “We’ve gone back and forth with them beating us, and us beating them. The NTC tournament is always a battle against them. You know what you’re getting when you play them. It’s just a matter of who’s more mentally locked in. I thought all of us 1-9 and the bench included, bringing energy, were locked in today.”
Kreke said not giving up and staying positive has been key for them this season.
“We’ve been dealing with that all season. We’ve had to battle in some games where we’re down seven runs,” Kreke said. “Tonight, we were down one in the sixth against a really good pitcher. We were able to bounce back. It speaks of our maturity of how far we’ve come from the fall. I’m proud of the boys but there’s still a high ceiling we can reach.”