ST. MARYS — The St. Marys baseball team has its own full-service restaurant going.
“They’re settting the table and clearing off the table right now,” St. Marys head coach Jeff Dieringer said after his team surged to 12-1 on the season on Monday.
Lead-off hitter Tristan Becker went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and two runs batted in while clean-up man Isaac Fitzgerald went 3 for 4 with two doubles and four RBIs on Monday night in a 9-2 Western Buckeye League victory over Elida at K.C. Geiger Park.
Fitzgerald is 11 for his last 14 at the plate with 12 runs batted in over those four games. Becker followed up a game on Saturday in which he drove in four with a perfect night from the plate on Tuesday.
“It’s a credit to them not changing their approach,” Dieringer said. “They’re looking for fastballs to hit. They’re getting them and putting the bat on the ball and it’s really been a pick-up for our offense with those two guys.
St. Marys’ strong string of starting pitching continued with six solid innings from Brandon Coffey, who gave up two unearned runs while striking out four and walking two.
Marshall Lininger pitched another scoreless inning of relief.
Nathan Wilker went 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Nathan Vogel had a hit and an RBI. Mason Gross added an RBI hit.Zack Wilker, Josh Young and Kyle Kiefer each had a hit.
St. Marys took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Gross bounding single up the middle that brought home Becker, who tripled to lead off the bottom of the first.
Elida briefly tied the game in the top of the second on a bunt RBI single by Riley Overholt.
St. Marys took the lead for good in the third with a two-run double by Fitzgerald up the alley in left center that scored Becker and Nathan Wilker for a 3-1 lead.
Becker then tripled in Kyle Kiefer for a 4-1 advantage in the fourth. Nathan Wilker brought Becker home with a two-out RBI double down the left field line for a 5-1 lead. Fitzgerald followed with an RBI single to left.
Becker blooped in an RBI single to score Austin Quellhorst, who pinch hit and reached on a fielders’ choice in the fifth for a 7-1 advantage.
Coffey extricated the Riders out of a bases loaded jam with one out with a strikeout and after an RBI single by Austin Morrison, a flyout to center.
“That’s just maturity,” Dieringer said. “He didn’t let it rattle him. In innings he got the first guy, he cruised. In innings the first guy reached, it was tough and he picked himself up and battled.”
Fitzgerald doubled home Nathan Wilker in the sixth. Nathan Vogel added a sacrifice fly to drive in Fitzgerald for a 9-2 lead.
St. Marys has big WBL games with Bath, Celina and Defiance looming. Dieringer said for his team to get through it, the Riders will need to keep putting the bat on the ball throwing strikes.
“It sounds cliche, but that’s our game. We’re not striking out ten per game, we're pitching to contact and playing defenseand we’re not striking out at the plate. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”