Creston baseball fell at home Thursday afternoon to St. Albert, losing 7-2 to the Hawkeye 10 foe.
The game got right to business in the fourth batter of the game as a two-run homer from Lance Wright had Creston chasing two runs before at batter stepped in the box for the Panthers.
A leadoff double from third baseman Evan Bruce had Creston in good shape, but nobody could score him in the bottom of the first to keep the score 2-0.
In the second, Brendan Monahan gave St. Albert more insurance with the game’s second two-run homer, this time out of left field to make it 4-0.
The deficit didn’t have Creston playing scared long as a leadoff single from Britain Miller, a walk from Gage Skarda and a single from Avery Fuller was a recipe to bring in Miller for Creston’s first run.
Trailing by three in the third, Creston’s Gavin Gillam was plunked by a pitch to lead off the inning. A walk to Brayton Chesnut put Gillam in scoring position for Miller, who capitalized with the bases loaded on a single up the middle.
Despite striking out on consecutive at-bats to end the inning with the bases loaded, the energy shifted in Creston’s dugout.
“I think we’re starting to believe that we can play with everybody. I told the kids the last three nights that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Creston’s head coach Steve Birchard. “We’re getting a little better at-bats, ... but tonight, barring those two early home runs early on, we’re looking at a 3-2 game.”
From there, Creston’s offense sputtered. Another double by Bruce in the fourth inning saw him get stranded to end the inning, and then back-to-back 1-2-3 innings had Creston trailing by five entering the bottom of the seventh.
A leadoff walk sparked some energy in Creston’s bench, and with another walk to Gillam the Panthers had two on with one out.
Consecutive strikeouts to end the game ended any threat the Panthers were building, capping off the 7-2 final.
Birchard said the Panthers had a strikeout get reversed to a single once (left the bases loaded twice), the game could have been completely different due to Creston gaining momentum
“We left nine on-base,” said Birchard. “(St. Albert’s Jeff Miller) is a good pitcher. He’s solid, mixes things up. ... We’ve got to get a little more gritty at the plate with two strikes. ... We’re coming along. I feel good about it.”
Birchard was happy with the pitching performance from Briley Hayes. Hayes pitched five innings, striking out two and walking three in a 94-pitch outing.
“If you don’t give up two two-run homers, you’re still sitting there with those two in the sixth. ... Briley did a nice job, likely what we expected out of him,” said Birchard.
Coming from Denison
Creston capped off the win over Denison-Schleswig from Friday, winning 6-3.
The game was previously suspended from Friday due to weather. The makeup for Creston and Denison came at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon in Red Oak.
Birchard said he couldn’t wave scripted the end of the game any better with the Monarchs’ bottom third of the order due up when the game resumed.
The Monarchs went 0-6 to end the game while Creston tacked on another run on a Tristan Barncastle RBI single that scored Luke Latham.
“If I had to draw it up, that would have been the way I would have drawn it up,” said Birchard on the game’s end.
UP NEXT – Creston faces Kuemper Catholic Tuesday in a doubleheader, with first pitch coming 5:30 p.m.
Creston 4, St. Albert 3
R H E
SA 220 002 1 — 7 8 0
CR 011 000 4 — 2 6 2
CR: Briley Hayes 5IP 2K 3BB, Evan Bruce 2IP 1BB and Gavin Gillam. SA: Jeff Miller 6IP 9K 2BB, Cy Patterson 1IP 3K 2BB and Daniel McGrath. W - Patterson. L - Hayes. HR — SA: Lance Wright, Brendan Monahan. 3B — None. 2B —SA: Cy Patterson. CR: Evan Bruce (2). RBI — SA: Jeff Miller (2), Wright (2), Monahan (2), Brett Klusman (1). CR: Britain Miller (1), Avery Fuller (1). Multiple hits — SA: Patterson (2). CR: Bruce (2), Miller (2).