by Kyle Koso
One high-voltage inning certainly felt good for the 11u SBA Canes (SC), but the team really got a charge by showing it had a lot more sizzle to come.
The Canes kicked off their run at the U. S. Club Nationals on Wednesday with a 13-3 run-rule victory over the Lonestar Elite (TX) at East Cobb Park, taking a 4-0 lead and then responding when Lonestar cut the advantage to 4-3. Six different batters had at least one RBI for the Canes, who plated two runs in the second, two in the third and five in the fourth to close out the matchup.
Luke St. John threw three innings of solid relief to get the win, getting three straight outs in the second, then allowing two hits the rest of the way.
"We ask guys who come into pitch in big situations to step up, fill the strike zone, and Luke did a fantastic job. He gave us some quality outs, quality innings and gave the guys some confidence to go out and win the ball game," said SBA coach Ross Blankinship. "We are very deep in the order, and we always seem to be productive with two outs, our situational hitting. We teach that at SBA."
"I was looking to throw strikes and let my defense go to work," St. John said. "The offense was hitting the ball good, and that let me know they had my back and I could pitch OK and still be up."
Bennett Holder had a two-run, two-out single in the first inning that capped the frame and sent SBA up, 4-0. Lonestar responded with three runs, two coming on a double from Jack Tyndall. Next time up, SBA got a RBI double from Trey Schubert and a two-out hit from Carter Blankinship, and two more runs were scored in the third when Macon Leppert doubled and scored on a groundout from Ezra Taylor, and Nick Soul walked and scored on a two-out single from Gavin Aldredge.
In the fourth, four walks gave SBA the fuel needed to put the game away, and Holder's single brought in the 13th run that sealed the verdict.
"I've been pretty good, and I've been on a hot streak the last two weekends," Holder said. "Luke came out of the inning, runner on second with no outs and didn't give up a run. That was pretty clutch."
Brady Quinn and Traigh Perry also had doubles for Lonestar.