Flashes advance past Ethel, await E. Webster|[04/26/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2008

The St. Aloysius Flashes may never want to leave Viking Field.

The Flashes (23-5) won their 10th straight game – all since moving from Bazinsky Field to Warren Central’s home field – and advanced to the third round of the Class 1A state playoffs with a 5-2 victory over Ethel, eliminating the Tigers in two straight games.

“We won 10 games since we moved here, so, yeah, I like it,” said St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson, whose team will face East Webster in a best-of-three series starting Friday in Maben. “You reel off 10 games at a place, you gotta like it. I really appreciate Randy (Broome) and the Warren Central baseball team for allowing us to use this field, because they didn’t have to.”

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St. Al last tasted defeat to Cathedral and Brandon on March 25 at Bazinsky Field. On April 4, storms ripped apart the backstop and left the field unplayable. They’ll get at least one more game at Viking Field next Saturday against East Webster.

“I guess we can see the ball a lot better,” Flashes second baseman Pierson Waring said. “The field is a lot faster, too.”

Waring provided the biggest hit of the night and one of the niftiest defensive plays soon after.

Ethel scored one run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 2. St. Al’s Ryno Martin-Nez led off the bottom of the fifth by getting hit by a pitch. Brendan Beesley then singled to put runners on first and second and Weaver belted a run-scoring double to give the lead back to the Flashes. Sean Weaver hit a two-RBI double two batters later to give St. Al a 5-2 lead, which was plenty for pitcher Stephen Evans.

“Whenever we get a lead, my confidence level rises a ton when I get some security runs,” said Evans, who allowed a run in the first inning, but was able to work out of a bases-loaded jam.

Ethel worked the bases loaded and scored the run with two outs. Following a walk to Glace Rone to jam the bases, Evans got a groundout to end the inning and retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced.

Ethel scored in the fifth and threatened in the sixth, but Waring’s defensive gem stopped the rally – he fielded a grounder between first and second base, jumped up and threw out Hunter Dempsey, who was trying to get from first to second. Evans then retired five of the next six batters he faced to end it.

The Flashes have yet to lose a game in the playoffs and three of their four wins have been by double-digits. East Webster will be a challenge, though.

“They are the team to beat. They are it in 1A baseball,” Wilkerson said. “They have beaten a lot of good teams this year. They put up a 10-spot on the kid from Eupora (Devin Jones) who just signed with Mississippi State. They can just rake it. They will be the best team we have played all year. No doubt.”