Backed against wall, St. Al looking to come out swinging

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2001

[05/05/01] For the second time in a week, a lack of timely hitting has the St. Aloysius Flashes facing elimination from the Class 1A playoffs.

The Flashes avoided it the first time with a late rally against Union, but will try to get the job done a little sooner tonight when their South State championship series resumes at 7 p.m. at Lake.

Lake took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series on Thursday as the Flashes fell behind early and stranded seven runners.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

“We’ve got to jump on them in the first inning. We have to play like there is no tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow for us,” St. Al designated hitter Charlie Amborn said. “For the seniors, this could be their last game unless we step it up, and I think we will. The last couple of games, we started hitting in the fourth and fifth inning, and you can’t do that. You have to jump on them early and shut them down, and shut them up.”

Hitting hasn’t been a problem for the Flashes. It’s been when they get the hits that has caused frustration.

St. Al has banged out 27 hits in its last three playoff games, but stranded 20 runners. In the two losses, the Flashes had 22 hits but stranded 15 runners and managed only three runs.

“We’re getting hits. But we get hits and then the people behind them don’t follow through,” Amborn said. “When youve got two outs and then you get two base hits, that’s not going to do anything. We’re not driving in runs. It’s not the hits, it’s the runs.”

Still, the fact that the Flashes have hit the ball is encouraging, assistant coach Jamie Trichell said. Friday’s 90-minute practice consisted solely of hitting drills.

“That’s a little boost. We know we can get the job done as long as we concentrate and focus,” Trichell said.

Another boost for the Flashes will come from tonight’s pitching matchup. St. Al will trot out ace Ryan Hearn, who is 3-0 in the playoffs with a 1.42 ERA and 15 strikeouts, and has allowed only three walks all in a 10-0 first-round win over West Lincoln. Hearn will face Lake’s Craig Martin, who beat the Flashes 3-1 on April 16.

Martin allowed only two hits and one unearned run in that game, but walked five and hit another batter.

“It’s not that much pressure on me because I know we can do it. I already beat them once this year, and I pitched over there when we played for the district title, knowing we could lose by two runs, and that’s exactly what I did,” Hearn said. “We know we can win. We’ve been in this positon before, where we’re down and we have to come back. We’ll find out what we’re made of.”