GLEN CARBON – With just about a third of the season down, the Father McGivney baseball team is still yet to be defeated. The Griffins hosted the Staunton Bulldogs Wednesday afternoon and won by a score of 10-1 heading into the Easter break.
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After some rainfall came through the Metro-East area the morning of the game, it was unclear if the game was going to be played as regularly scheduled, but with some diligent groundskeeping from the McGivney staff, the field was ready to be played.
That was to the delight of Griffins’ head coach Chris Erwin.
“It was important for us to play, important for us to get the game in,” he said.
Due to the uncertainty of playing, it kind of caught the Griffins off guard.
“I’m not sure the guys really anticipated us playing today, Erwin said. “I think that played into our slow start. It didn’t have the same feeling today when we came out.”
The offense took a bit to get going on a cold and windy Wednesday afternoon for the Griffins, but they still put a run across in the bottom of the first to get off to a quick lead.
Jackson Rodgers got things going by reaching on an error. After making his way around the bases from a couple of wild pitches from Staunton’s starting pitcher Brady Gillen, Gabe Smith hit a sacrifice RBI to score Rodgers from third and go ahead 1-0.
Rodgers pitched the first inning and had a couple of strikeouts before being replaced by Chase Kelley who went three-up-three-down in the second.
It wasn’t pretty offense, but it was honest work for McGivney in the bottom of the second. Sacrifice RBIs from Kannon Kamp and AJ Sutberry bumped the score to 3-0 after two.
The lone run for the Bulldogs came in the third. Things started off when Kelley walked Luke Dewitt. Dewitt eventually made his way to third and was batted in from Gillen’s double to cut the deficit to 3-1.
At that point in time, the Bulldogs were very much so in the game.
The fourth went scoreless and saw another pitching change for the Griffins. Out on the mound at that point was Dane Keeven. He struck out four in two innings of work.
Staunton left Gillen out on the mound for the bottom of the fifth, right when McGivney’s bats got hot.
Rodgers was walked to lead things off. Daniel Gierer hit an RBI double to score Rodgers and make it 4-1. After Sam Chouinard was walked, the Griffins had the bases loaded with only an out. Kamp singled advancing all three runners by one base.
Sutberry came up to bat and cleared the bases for a three-RBI double to grow the lead to 8-1.
Kamp later hit a two-RBI single in the sixth to get the eventual scoreline of 10-1.
“I thought the bottom of the order really came through today,” Erwin said.
McGivney’s usual trio of Rodgers, Gierer, and Gabe Smith had a relatively quiet afternoon aside from a couple of walks. So it was up to some others to put the runs up on the board.
Luckily for the Griffins, they’ve got some depth and it’s paying off. It’s paid off 13 times in a row to start this season to remain undefeated.
“We certainly worked for it, that’s for sure,” Erwin said about the tremendous start.
“I’m not sure we could’ve written a better story so far, but it’s only the first third of the season, we’ve got a long way to go.”
That story includes going down to Memphis, Tennessee, and winning the USA Classic. Along the way in that tournament, McGivney beat a couple of powerhouses including CBC, and Edwardsville in the championship game by a score of 6-4.
“It was kind of a storybook,” Erwin said. “We knew we had a tough schedule going down there. I wanted to see how we matched up against some of those teams. What a great tournament.”
Everything seems to be going right for McGivney right now. The Griffins are going to enjoy their Easter break and come back on Monday looking to pick up right where they left off.
McGivney hosts Piasa Southwestern (4-3) Monday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. start time.
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