BASEBALL: Beecher practices patience, persistence in win over Grant Park
BEECHER — In the game of baseball, one must quickly learn that not all wins are created equal, but when they present themselves, they have to be taken.
And on Monday evening, Beecher did just that.
Despite allowing three unearned runs on five errors, the Bobcats drew eight walks and mashed a dozen hits to double up on River Valley Conference rival Grant Park by a 14-7 final.
The Bobcats improved to 5-1 on the season and 3-0 in RVC play, while Grant Park saw its record fall to 1-4.
For both coaches, arguably the biggest factor was an extremely tight strike zone, which led to a dozen combined walks and a narrow strike zone that allowed hitters a healthy pitch selection.
“It was a tight zone today,” Bobcats coach Brandon DuBois said. “There were a lot of baserunners because borderline pitches were called balls — that was a big thing.”
Dragons coach Desi Desiderio echoed similar sentiments about the conditions his starter, Will Schneider, and Bobcats starter Hunter Eastham, endured.
“I’m not behind the plate, obviously, so I can only see so much, but I can trust my catcher, and he’s telling me things and seeing things,” Desiderio said. “I’ve seen Will pitch for six years, so I know how he works and how well he can pitch.”
Both teams took advantage of a small zone offensively, but the Dragons couldn’t quite match the Bobcats’ hot bats. On three different occasions, Beecher put up four runs and scored in four of their six turns at the plate in total, while 10 different Bobcats scored at least once.
“With a tighter zone, they have to bring it to you and we didn’t miss them,” DuBois said. “A lot of guys got solid contact today.”
And perhaps nobody got as much solid contact as senior center fielder Deshawn Doss. The Ottawa University commit went 2-3 with a double, a triple and four RBIs.
But for Doss, it wasn’t so much the tight zone that allowed his success, but increased plate vision, literally.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well,” Doss said. “I just got contacts and started hitting the ball better and I’m seeing the ball a lot better now.”
But it wasn’t just Doss, who hit fifth in the Bobcats lineup, that did damage. Three-hitter Tyler Brody and cleanup hitter Dom Gazzillo each had multi-hit games, as did Nathan Soch.
Gazzillo went 2-3 with two doubles, a walk, a run and an RBI, with courtesy runner Patrick Paulmeier also scored twice in his place.
“It’s been like that all year — everyone’s been hitting well, Dom especially,” Doss said. “It’s nice to have them in front of me.”
That lethal offensive attack forced Schneider off the mound after just 2.1 innings, allowing eight earned runs on five hits and five walks.
But all things considered, Desiderio had no problems with how his senior right-hander dealt on Monday.
“I’m not down in the dumps on how he pitched, I thought he pitched fine,” Desiderio said. “It’s just always that one or two innings where they tacked on those runs that put us on their heels.”
Despite the early deficit and the fact that they spent most of the game chasing between five and eight runs, the wackiness of Monday’s game never allowed the Dragons to feel like their deficit was too much to climb back from.
“That’s one thing I told my boys, ‘You can’t let something like this get to you too much,’” Desiderio said. “Whether the score should have been what it was, it is what it is, but the back and forth was good to see.
“Of course, we don’t want them to hit us, but to see it go back and forth was uplifting.”
Eastham earned the win by allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. He also scored a run and drove in a pair from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Brody went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, three runs scored and an RBI. Soch, LeBlanc, Turney and Kaden Winget each had a run and an RBI, while Nick Noles had a run and two RBIs.
Sawyer Loitz was 4-for-4 and scored a run for the Dragons. Nick Timmons and Wesley Schneider each had a hit and a run. Andrew Fulk and Ethan Damler each scored as well, while Fulk also drove in a run.
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday. The Bobcats host at Herscher while the Dragons travel to Dwight.