Flashes race to victory over Raleigh|[02/24/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2007

RICHLAND – In baseball, there are a couple dozen ways to advance from one base to the next. The St. Aloysius Flashes tried, and succeeded at, most of them Friday night.

St. Al used some savvy baserunning and a strong pitching performance from Ryno Martin-Nez to beat Raleigh 9-3 in the Little Mid-Mississippi Classic.

Martin-Nez and Jordan Muirhead each had an RBI double for the Flashes, but those were the only two runs they scored via a hit. The rest came in on a wide mix of wild pitches, passed balls, errors and stolen bases.

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&#8220I said at the beginning of the year we’re going to run the bases aggressively and take advantage of mistakes,” St. Al coach Clinto Wilkerson said. &#8220We have guys that are able to do move up 90 feet and make things happen.”

Martin-Nez shut Raleigh down after a shaky first inning. He gave up three hits and two runs to spot Raleigh a 2-1 lead, then scattered five hits and a run over the next six innings. Martin-Nez walked one, struck out six and carried the Flashes to a landmark victory over one of last season’s Class 3A semifinalists.

Martin-Nez also put St. Al (2-0) ahead for good with his RBI double in the sixth inning and scored another run during a four-run seventh that blew the game open.

&#8220At first, I couldn’t throw strikes. Then I settled down and got into a rhythm and felt good,” Martin-Nez said.

Martin-Nez’s double made it 3-2 and triggered a late flood of runs for St. Al. He advanced to third on a botched fielder’s choice and scored on a passed ball. Sean Weaver, who had bunted the ball that allowed Martin-Nez to reach third, later dashed home when Raleigh catcher Dustin Warren threw to first on a dropped third strike.

Raleigh’s Kyle Tally delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to cut it to 5-3, but St. Al put the game away with four more runs in the seventh. Again, most of them were the result of smart baserunning.

The Flashes plated two runs on an infield error, and advanced runners on an errant pickoff throw and a bloop hit that Pierson Waring turned into a double.

The crowning touch, though, was a wild pitch that Martin-Nez scored the final run on. As Martin-Nez charged home from third, Warren picked up the ball and dove toward the plate to make the tag. Martin-Nez alertly stopped short and hopped over Warren and onto the plate to make it 9-3.

&#8220I was thinking about sliding and then I saw him dive so I jumped in the air,” Martin-Nez said. &#8220It was awesome. It got me fired up and everybody else fired up.”

In all, St. Al scored seven runs in its last two at-bats to turn the game into a rout and spoil an outstanding pitching performance by Raleigh’s Matthew Scott.

The right-hander struck out 13, walked one and allowed only six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He was hurt by five wild pitches or passed balls and two hit batsmen who later scored.

St. Al plated four runs as a direct result of balls that got by the catcher, and another on a double steal in the second inning.

&#8220We try to work on that all the time in practice,” Martin-Nez said of the Flashes’ baserunning. &#8220We work on dirt balls, and the stuff we accomplished tonight was a result of that.”

Brandon 3, Warren Central 0

Brandon scored two runs in the first and one in the second and kept the Vikings (1-4) off the scoreboard on Friday at the Mid-Mississippi Classic.

Jonathan Longmire allowed a first-inning home run, then Brandon scored an unearned run in the second inning before Longmire kept the Bulldogs (4-1) scoreless the rest of the way.

&#8220He slammed the door,” WC coach Randy Broome said of Longmire. &#8220He had three pitches and kept them off-balance all night.”

Heath Carroll and Adam Lee each had a sixth-inning single for the only Viking hits.