There have been three common themes so far for the Union baseball Wildcats.
Both games so far have been played in Phelps County.
Union has scored eight runs in each outing.
And both have ended in Union victories.
The Wildcats won 8-2 Monday at St. James in their Four Rivers Conference opener.
“We grinded out a conference win, so I’m proud of the guys,” said Union Head Coach Ryan Bailey. “We looked like a team that hadn’t played in two weeks and had been on a long spring break, but our at-bats improved throughout the game and we kept working hard to get a quality win.”
In Monday’s game, Union scored in the top of the first, but allowed St. James to come back with two runs in the bottom of that frame.
That was it for the Tigers though.
Union added two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and four final runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Jordan Weaks was the winning pitcher, going the distance. He allowed two runs on four hits and five walks. Weaks fanned 14 St. James batters.
“I joke with Jordan that I expect a lot of him — I think I’m almost as tough on him as I am on my sons,” Bailey said. “He threw a four-hitter with 14 strikeouts and I think my heartbeat never went below 300 beats per minute most of the night. He’s struggled with letting the leadoff hitter each inning get on base, which always makes for an interesting time, but he’s good enough to get our team out of those situations and our defense played a solid game to help him out of some jams.”
Offensively, the standout was Devon Fennessey. He recorded four hits, two of which were doubles. He scored twice, drove in four and added a stolen base.
“Devon Fennessey had a very good game,” Bailey said. “He put the ball in play for all five of his at-bats, and his only at bat without a hit was a hard groundball to third that resulted in an error. We struggled at the plate for most of the night, but he picked our whole lineup up with some big hits until some other guys got their bats working.”
Brendan Burgess and Drew Juengel had two hits apiece. Burgess scored and drove in a run. Juengel scored twice and walked.
“Brendan Burgess had a big at-bat in the fourth inning,” Bailey said. “He gave us some breathing room with a line drive single to score Nick Schumaker on a hitter’s count. When guys execute in a big situation it really picks the team up to see someone do what they are supposed to do.”
Aldwin Fleer and Weaks posted one hit each. Fleer scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base. Weaks doubled, drove in one and walked.
Dillen Myers walked twice. Ashton Dehn drew one walk.
“We’re getting production from lots of different players,” Bailey said. “Drew Juengel has been taking good at bats and had two hits Tuesday night. Aldwin Fleer has been taking good cuts at the plate and had a nice two-out RBI to give us some breathing room against St. James. Emmett Parker plays shortstop when Weaks is pitching and after making a mental error on a double play ball, he settled himself down and made a good play on the next batter to give us a chance to end the inning and we got out of it unscathed. All of those contributions allowed us to get the win against St. James.”
For St. James, Justin Ray, Jake Ford, Jake Gleason and Elye Rogers each had one hit.
Ford doubled and drove in both runs. Rogers also doubled and scored. Drew Lahnman scored once.
Rogers drew two walks. Zach Dean, Lahnman and Nathan Strait walked once.
Ford took the loss. He went five innings while allowing four unearned runs on four hits and five walks. He fanned three.
Dean pitched 1.1 innings, allowing four runs on four hits. He struck out two.
Cody Miller pitched two-thirds of an inning, striking out one batter.