SHENANDOAH – Creston baseball had the ball flying all over the yard Wednesday, taking two over Shenandoah 19-8 and 12-3.
In game one, Creston showcased its dominance at the plate in a 19-run onslaught over six innings.
The great day in the batter’s box across both games can be attributed to seeing good pitches to hit, according to head coach Steve Birchard.
“Getting good pitches to hit. It seemed like today we were a little more patient and didn’t swing at the bad pitches,” said Birchard. “... Their coach even commented about it, so that was sort of a compliment to us and was sort of a part to our success.”
The selective pitch approach led to the Panthers batting around twice, once in the fourth inning and again in the sixth.
Eli Loudon hit a three-run home run to center field in the third to tie the game up at 3-3 for Creston. A double for Bryce Fitzgerald put the Panthers in business to break the tie with two outs and Luke Latham followed suit with a two-run bomb.
A fly out to center ended the inning and after surrendering the lead again in the bottom of the third, Creston worked to get it back right away.
Singles from Brayton Chesnut and Gage Skarda put Loudon in a position to bring another in for an RBI. Gavin Gillam continued the production with two outs, driving in one with a double. Latham also hit an RBI double, but his means of production were overshadowed by a Keagan Smith three-run bomb to make it 10-6.
A seven-run fourth inning was nearly bested in the sixth as Creston scored sixth in what ended up being its final at-bats of the game.
Fitzgerald and Gillam had RBIs in the inning. Four walks helped fuel the baserunning for Creston as it pulled away with an 11-run lead.
Hot bats roll
The production continued in game two for Creston as Loudon kicked off the game with a double.
His double turned into a run scored on an error off the Shenandoah first baseman in the following at-bat off an Evan Bruce batted ball.
Both Loudon and Bruce came around to score the game’s first runs. The production at the top of the lineup wasn’t done for the day as Loudon stepped into the box the next inning to crank his second homer of the day.
The two-run shot made it 4-0 without an out recorded in the second inning, setting Creston up for an eventual 12-3 win.
After the homer, Loudon was walked twice. He finished the day 4-4 with four walks and two homers and five RBIs in the two games.
Smith had an 0-1 day in game two, but came around to score three times. He was on base due to two walks drawn and a hit-by-pitch. Birchard also said Shenandoah pitching losing control of the strike zone helped Creston build big innings in its favor.
Across both games, Birchard believes his team is improving on its mental approach when it comes to planning an attack at the plate.
On the mound, Creston worked through its staff while holding large leads in the latter stages of both games.
The pitching staff, while walking a few, worked through the Mustangs enough to hold off any rally attempts.
“When you get a lead, you can let the guys hit the ball a little bit and if your defense is playing well then you’re going to be OK,” said Birchard.
Birchard said despite not wanting to start him in game two, he gave the ball to Loudon. Loudon didn’t disappoint, striking out nine Mustang batters.
“I really didn’t want to start Loudon,” said Birchard. “I wanted to bring him in relief and have him in relief in either game because he tends to throw a lot of pitches. We sort of changed gears and had him start that second game.”
UP NEXT – Creston will play Monday against Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (10-13) at home. First pitch is planned for 7:30 p.m.
Creston 19, Shenandoah 8
R H E
Cr 005 706 — 19 15 0
Sh 303 020 — 8 10 2
Creston: Keagan Smith 1K 3BB, Gavin Shawler (3) 1K 4BB and Gavin Gillam. Shenandoah: Cain Lorimore, Blake Herold and Owen McCunn. W — Shawler (3-4). L – N/A. HR — Cr: Keagan Smith, Eli Loudon, Luke Latham. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: Bryce Fitzgerald (2), Gage Skarda, Gavin Gillam, Latham. RBI — Cr: Loudon (4), Smith (3), Latham (3), Fitzgerlad (2), Gillam (2), Evan Bruce. Sh: Devon Morelock (3), Cain Lorimor (2), Austin Herold (2), Braden Knight.
Creston 12, Shenandoah 3
R H E
Cr 222 033 0 — 12 8 1
Sh 001 002 0 — 3 3 2
Creston: Eli Loudon 9K 2BB, Luke Latham (6) 1K 1BB and Gavin Gillam. Shenandoah: Devon Morelock, Anthony Stogdill, Braden Knight and Blake Herold. W — Loudon (4-2). L – N/A. HR — Cr: Eli Loudon. Sh: Austin Herold. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: Gavin Gillam, Loudon. RBI — Cr: Evan Bruce (3), Loudon (2), Luke Latham, Brayton Chesnut, Brayden Fitzgerald, Gillam. Sh: Braden Knight, Herold.