The St. Louis U. High Jr. Bills (14-9, 1-7 MCC) are wandering in the desert. For the last 40 days, SLUH has lugged a 7-8 record. Big wins and close losses stand as bright spots on their journey. However, a shortened DeSmet game and a Vianney whooping this week have set the team back.
MCC opponents have troubled the Jr. Bills over this stretch—SLUH hasn’t won an MCC game since March 21. This week the MCC woes continued, as the baseball squad extended its four game losing streak with losses against Vianney and CBC.
“We’ve played pretty much every game close,” senior Andrew Pitts said. “It’s almost like what else can we do? We are putting forth good effort. The other teams are just getting a break—that extra hit when they need it.”
On Wednesday, the Griffins nearly short-gamed the Jr. Bills, beating them 11-2 at home. Vianney pounded six SLUH pitchers for 16 hits. In relief, sophomore Mark Elbert, junior Matt Rancilio, and seniors Peter Gable and Trevor Dorand combined for two innings of work. Left fielder and junior Kaleb King led the pack with two innings, giving up four runs and striking out four.
“As the season has progressed, it became apparent that we needed to try to find some other guys (innings) as well,” head coach Steve Nicollerat said. “(King) did fine.”
Junior starter Andrew Quinn was tagged for four runs as well, lasting only two innings.
Defensively, the Jr. Bills rode a roller coaster. The squad turned two double plays, including a rare 8-4 (center field to second base). Senior Willie Floros assisted in four plays on the rocking chair at third. The Jr. Bills, however, committed three errors, including a passed ball that allowed a run.
On the flip side, Vianney starter Aaron Bossi hurled a gem. Bossi struck out six Jr. Bills and allowed only five hits. Senior LJ Hernandez paced SLUH with two hits, scoring once and driving a run home.
This past Tuesday, SLUH lost at Sheridan Stadium for the first time since May 14, 2010. Both losses were to CBC. This year’s 4-0 defeat turned bitter. Cadet pitching stung SLUH hitters, striking out 11 batters, including four in a row at one point. However, senior Mitch Klug collected his first hit of the year.
Insult was added to injury later in the game, when the entire Cadet bench sang all the words to “Sweet Caroline” to a dejected SLUH bench.
However, the Jr. Bills stayed poised. Junior ace Brian Howard looked good in his start. Howard went the distance, striking out seven and allowing only one earned run.
“He pitched well enough to win, but we didn’t give him enough support offensively,” Nicollerat said. “You can’t expect a guy to be perfect. We still need runs.”
SLUH’s defense also made four errors in the defeat.
“You don’t win them all,” Nicollerat said. “And we have struggled. (But) no one can ever fault these guys for lack of effort. Their effort has been outstanding. They’ve been through a lot. This is not easy on the kids. But they’re going to come through it.”
it’s over. The second season starts right now.”
SLUH will go for its 22nd consecutive District title this weekend. The Jr. Bills hosted Sumner for the first round of Districts yesterday (check the Nightbeat for the result). On the season, Sumner has looked quite awful. They hold a 1-7 record that includes a 34-1 loss against Metro.
Districts will not be as easy as the Sumner game. If SLUH plays them in the next round, Ritenour poses a threat with a senior pitcher that nearly knocked them out three years ago.
The final District game will likely pit SLUH against Chaminade on May 15. The Red Devils have been on a tear recently, sweeping their two-game series against Vianney. Senior ace Jake Goessling leads the pitching staff with 35 Ks and a 1.53 ERA.
All that glitters is gold
The Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association (MHSBCA) named senior Willie Floros a senior All-Star this week. Floros will participate in the All-Star game on June 9 at Missouri Western State University at 11:15 a.m.