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Strong hitting by Titans leads to win over Spartans

04/06/2014, 12:00am EDT
By DONALD EMMONS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Kirkman collects 4 hits to help propel St. John’s

Three Rivers Athletic Conference baseball favorite St. John's Jesuit met City League favorite Start on Saturday.

At times, both teams showed why they're picked to finish at the top of their leagues, but the Titans came away with a 10-6 victory.

"I thought it was very important to get the game in because we open up the TRAC season next Wednesday with Clay and it's going to be a battle," St. John's coach Greg Christian said. "So, we wanted to get a game in, instead of just practicing all week."

The Titans (2-0) showed they were at least ready to swing their bats with 12 hits.

Ethan Kirkman went 4-for-4 with a double and three singles and Mike Barrett tagged three hits in four at-bats, including two doubles. John Freisner went 2-for-2 with two RBI-producing singles.

"Early in the season we're swinging the bats pretty good," said Christian, whose team scored at least a run in every inning except the first.

The Titans jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring in the second inning and three in the third. Pete Burkett and Freisner each had RBI singles in the third inning and it looked as if St. John’s was on its way to a comfortable victory.

Start (1-2) came right back in the fourth to score five runs, despite recording only one hit during the frame. Nate Kinor had a run-scoring hit during an inning when five Spartans reached base with a walk. Sean Kelley drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, while Noah Childress and Drake Zygula walked with the bases loaded. The Spartans also scored on an error.

Start led 5-4, but the lead didn't hold up for long.

St. John's scored four runs in the bottom half of the fourth off Childress on five hits, including run-scoring hits by Barrett, Jeremy O'Brien, and Freisner.

"I was very disappointed with the five-spot we gave up in the fourth inning," Christian said. "I thought we were totally dominating the game at 4-0 and we walked the first three hitters in the inning. We had five walks that inning and had a big error and gave up two runs, so they scored five runs on one hit.

"We've got to limit the damage a little bit better and our pitchers throw strikes."

Christian was pleased to see the Titans rebound.

"We put a four-spot back on them, so it was a great answer," Christian said. "I think we gave up the momentum a little bit and fell behind 5-4, but we put up the four-spot and I think we regained the momentum back then and kept scoring every inning right there to keep extending the lead."

Start didn't have an answer for St. John's rally.

Yet, Spartans coach Jason Biniker understands it's early in the season.

"That's a really, really good team over there, probably one of the best in the area," Biniker said. "It was a little bit of an ugly game. They made some plays and we didn't. On our end, we've got to throw more strikes. We've walked way too many guys this year."

Kinor had two hits to lead the Spartans, while Childress had a hit an RBI and scored a run.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.

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