Indians beat N-C behind nine-run third, 11 hits

After scoring no runs on a bases loaded situation in the first inning, the St. Stephens baseball team made sure it didn’t make the same mistake twice.

Nine of the Indians’ 12 runs in their game with Newton-Conover came in the third inning.

The entire Saint line-up scored a run in that inning, which paced the team to a 12-4 non-conference win over the Red Devils in Newton on Wednesday.

“The biggest thing for is just trying to stay at a pace,” said Indians coach Chip Watts. “We’ve talked about buying in. These kids have done a great job of building on some momentum. I think the biggest thing is the gameplan is there and they never quit on us.”

The Indians loaded up the bases in the first inning, but N-C starting pitcher Chris Aronis was able to dodge trouble.

That was until the third inning.

St. Stephens loaded the bases again in the third with two singles and a walk.

Following a drawn walk and RBI by Greg Lucas, the Indians scored four more runs on back-to-back RBI singles by Luke Barton and Konner Klingenburg.

The Indians’ seventh batter in the third, Logan Gray, doubled to plate Zach Bumgarner, making the Saint lead 7-2.

“When you can’t get an out, you can’t get out of the inning,” said N-C coach Corey Nunley. “The inning started out alright. They got a couple runners on. If they can get a couple on, but still get an out here of there, you can get out of it. They scored seven runs without an out. There isn’t much you can’t do about that.”

Before that inning, the Red Devils (1-4) led 2-0 behind a two-RBI single by Todd Church that scored Spencer Travis and Griffin Shepperd.

By the time the Indians were finished in the third, they led 9-2, adding an RBI single by Dillion Spencer that plated Kyrawn Whitfield and a run scored on an error.

Newton-Conover continued to fight in the game, answering back in the fourth with a single from catcher Parker Sigmon, which scored Tyler Sawyer.

The Indians quickly returned the favor. Spencer added his second RBI of the game in the top of the fourth, answering the Red Devils’ run with an RBI single that scored Klingenburg.

St. Stephens added two more runs in the top of the fifth on a throwing error by Church at third base.

Nunley said it wasn’t just the three errors that hurt his team in the game.

“We’ve got to improve everywhere,” Nunley said. “It’s not just the errors. It’s hitting, fielding and pitching. If we don’t, you see what is going to happen.”

Newton-Conover tacked on a final run — Sigmon’s second RBI, which scored Sam Avis — before the game was over.

Already off to a solid start this season, Watts said his team’s hard work is paying off.

“The biggest thing about these kids is I’m proud of that they’ve bought in,” Watts said. “We’ve had one of the best offseasons since I’ve been here. That is where it starts with any program. Our kids have really come hungry every day. I think every day when those kids come to work, they want to get better. That’s all I can ask.”