BASEBALL: Beecher’s offense stays hot in home win over Gardner-South Wilmington
BEECHER — Coming into Monday’s River Valley Conference matchup with Gardner-South Wilmington, Beecher had won its last nine games and scored double-digit runs in seven of those.
And the Bobcats made that 10-straight wins with another double-digit offensive outburst in their 15-3 home victory against the Panthers Monday night.
The Bobcats improved to 13-1 on the season, while the loss moved the Panthers to 9-4.
“We’re throwing strikes as pitchers, we’ve taken advantage of good hitter’s counts when we’ve gotten them, but the big thing is we’ve played pretty solid defense as of late,” Beecher coach Brandon DuBois said. “Those are all good things that keep you in ballgames.”
It was actually the Panthers who struck first, as Nathan Wozniak took the first pitch of the game to the opposite field and deposited a deep home run over the right field fence.
The Panthers plated another run in the first on a Joey Morales groundout, but after that, Beecher starter Ryan LeBlanc found a rhythm and rode it for the rest of the game.
LeBlanc threw a complete game in the five inning affair, allowing an unearned run on two hits over the final four innings, putting his final line at three runs (two earned) on six hits and eight strikeouts.
“He doesn’t let things phase him, he’s got that next pitch mentality where he can give up a home run, and the next pitch he’s gonna try to strike you out,” DuBois said of LeBlanc. “The game doesn’t change just because you give up a home run and he knows that.
“He kept (the Panthers) off-balance and he was able to get his fastball by some of those guys too.”
And while LeBlanc began sitting Panthers batters down as the innings went on, the Bobcats wasted no time of their own lighting up the scoreboard, putting up a five-run first inning of their own, highlighted by a two-run single from Deshawn Doss.
Tyler Brody added fuel to the fire in the second, as it was his turn for an opposite field homer, a two-run blast. He later doubled and scored in the middle of a Bobcats lineup that saw eight different players score.
“I love it — I know if I can get on base, I won’t get stranded,” Brody said. “They’ll clean up and get me in and I won’t have to stay out (on the bases too long).”
And LeBlanc wasn’t limited to showing his talents on the mound. At the dish, he went 2-2 with a walk, a run and four RBIs.
“It was nice because I’d been in a little slump lately,” LeBlanc said. “But I’ve gotten back in it and have been hitting the ball.”
Brody said that he has the utmost confidence in LeBlanc, whether it be on the mound or at the plate.
“Ryan’s a great pitcher, definitely one of our best pitchers,” Brody said. “I love seeing him pitch because I know it’ll be a good pitching day for us and he’s been hitting the ball well lately (offensively).”
While the win helped the Bobcats distance themselves from the RVC pack, improving to 7-0 in the conference over arguably their stiffest competition for the conference crown, DuBois said that Monday’s game wasn’t any more important than any other game.
“It’s like every other one, they’re all nice,” DuBois said. “This is high school baseball, you’ve gotta win everything.”
Kaden Winget went 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Doss fnished three runs and two RBIs. Brody finished 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
Patrick Paulmeier scored three runs as a courtesy runner and added a fourth run after drawing a pinch-hit walk in the fourth.
Morales joined Wozniak as the only Panthers to both score and drive in a run, while they each also had a hit. Chris Ruiz had a hit and scored. Brandon States had a hit and an RBI.
The two teams do battle again on Wednesday, this time at Gardner-South Wilmington.