April 24th, 2018

Scheler, Harkins lead Tigers past Male

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


Scheler, Harkins lead Tigers past Male
St. Xavier's Ryan Nicholson fouls off a pitch from Male's Matt Kirkland / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier baseball star Cam Scheler is one of the most dangerous hitters in the state and Male found out the hard way.

The junior went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs to help the host Tigers defeat visiting Male 5-3 in a 26th District game Tuesday night.

“It’s the fact that he’s using the whole field, that’s huge for us,” St. X head coach Andy Porta said. “When he is pressing, he’ll try and pull. When he’s relaxed, he’ll use the whole field and that’s nice to see. In the past it has been right-center. He is trusting his hands and hitting the ball deep.”

St. X is 15-0, its best start since the new millennium.

Aric Lyons walked and then scored on a Scheler triple that went down the right field line to put St. X up 1-0 in the first.

“I knew I wasn’t going to see much because Male Coach Jacob Fiorella is my summer coach,” Scheler said. “He knows how to pitch me. I just had to stick with my approach, try not to pull, and hit the opposite way today.”

The Bulldogs (9-5) answered in the third inning when Trevor Campbell hit a grounder and made it to second when Tiger third baseman Bryce Elmore who overthrew first baseman Ryan Nicholson. Campbell scored on Tristan Garcia’s base hit to tie the game up at one.

St. X responded with a run in the bottom half.

Xander Adams led off with a double in the third. Trey Sweeney hit a grounder and Male second baseman Todd Jackson mishandled the grounder and then made a bad throw home and Adams scored to give St. X a 2-1 lead.

“It was the third pitch of the at-bat,” Adams said of his leadoff double. “He threw me two curveballs in a row and then threw me a fastball low and I saw it really well and pulled it.”

Male loaded the bases with one-out in the top half of the fifth but St. X starter Brycen Harkins escaped the jam unscathed.

“I just knew I had to pitch strikes,” Harkins said. “We couldn’t afford a walk in that situation; we were only up by one. I knew I had to bear down and throw a strike and let my defense do the work.”

The Tigers scored four runs in the fifth to give their pitcher a cushion.

Lyons and Sweeney led off with singles. Scheler followed with a base hit to score Lyons while Sweeney was thrown out trying to go home.

Scheler then made it 5-1 when he scored on a wild pitch.

Harkins ran into trouble again in the sixth when he walked Cameron Singer, Campbell, and Matt Ernst to load the bases with two outs.

“Brycen got off to a great start only throwing four pitches in both the first and second innings,” Porta said. “Honestly, even when we got to the bottom of the fifth, the leadoff walk hurt him, but we were making poor decisions in the field and made a couple of errors. It wasn’t Brycen fault other than the leadoff walk. In the sixth he started getting tired, I went out there to try and loosen him, but had already decided that he would be the last batter he’d face regardless if he got the out or not.”

Sweeney replaced Harkins. Chryan Cruse hit an infield single to score Singer, but Nicholson, the first baseman, makes a bad throw, and Campbell scored to pull the Bulldogs within 5-3. Sweeney got the next hitter to fly out and only allowed one hit in the seventh to get the save.

Harkins started for the Tigers and pitched 5 &2/3 innings and allowed two hits, three runs, two earned, walked three, and plunked one

“I was trying to dominate the bottom half of the zone with my fastball,” Harkins said. “At the beginning of the game I was doing really well getting ahead of batters so that helped a lot. I would get my curveball and changeup working and then a little off balance with the fastball.”

The two errors hurt Harkins in the sixth.

“Hopefully the more times we experience bases loaded situations, we don’t want to be in those situations, but we want to right now because it’s practice,” Porta said. “We want to know how to handle those situations when we get to the postseason. Our pitchers have to be able to shut down the door, but the fielders have to know where they’re going with the ball. We want to be proactive and not reactive. You can simulate that in practice, but it’s not the same as a game.”

Sweeney didn’t give up a run and gave up two hits in 1 & 1/3 innings.  

Matt Kirkland started for Male and allowed five runs, five hits, struck out two, and walked four in four innings. Jordan Levey tossed two innings and allowed one hit and struck out one.

 

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