Stringer ace silences St. Aloysius|[04/28/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2007

Meridian Community college signee Seth Hester struck out 12 and did not give up a hit until the sixth inning to lead Stringer past St. Aloysius 5-2 in Game 1 of a second round Class 1A playoff series Friday night.

St. Aloysius (23-7) must win Game 2 today at Stringer to extend the series to a Game 3 which would be Thursday at Bazinsky Field.

Flashes coach Clint Wilkerson said Hester threw a good game but felt he may have had some help.

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&#8220No doubt we were up against an SEC caliber pitcher in Hester. He was throwing 88 (mph) but what made it tough on us was that he was getting four inches to the outside of the black,” Wilkerson said in reference to a wide strike zone by the homeplate umpire.

&#8220I thought our kids played hard. We just didn’t do a good job of hitting the baseball. We preached all week about putting the ball in play. Credit Hester and credit Stringer,” Wilkerson added.

Hester, now 8-2 on the year, said the key was to mix up his pitches. He was particulary dominant in the middle three innings where he notched eight strikeouts, including four on called third strikes.

&#8220I started slow, but I mixed up my pitches because I didn’t want them to see the same pitch twice. I think my fastball was pretty good,” Hester said.

His two losses this season have come against Class 4A West Jones and 1A quarterfinalist St. John.

&#8220We made seven errors in that game,” Hester said of the loss to St. John.

Stringer made just one error Friday, that coming on a bad throw from shortstop which gave St. Al its first run. Brendan Beesley scored from second off the errant throw to make it 2-1 after three innings.

Stringer, which had nine hits off three St. Al pitchers, went up 3-1 in the fifth when Ryan Sumrall doubled off of St. Al starter Ryno Martin-Nez to score Hester.

In the sixth, Cole Walters walked and Weston Stringer followed with a cue shot toward third. He beat the throw for an infield hit but Wilkerson didn’t think so. He argued the call and was ejected.

Moments later, as assistant coach Trey Clark talked to the umps, a white water cooler was tossed on to the field.

When play resumed, Andrew Pierce ripped the Red Devils’ fourth double of the game to score two for a 5-1 lead.

On its third trip through the lineup, St. Al finally got some good at-bats against Hester. Jordan Muirhead singled to left with two outs for the Flashes’ first hit.

Sean Weaver followed with a double to right center to score Muirhead to make it 5-2. Marsh Willis appeared to have a third hit but the 6-foot-3 Hester grabbed the ball and then made the underhanded toss to first for the third out.

&#8220I didn’t he (Hester) was anything special. We just didn’t hit the baseball,” Muirhead said.

In the seventh, Hester struck out the first two batters for his 11th and 12th strikeouts. He then got John Robert Burnett to fly out to left to end the game.