St. John’s clung to a 4-2 led at the top of the seventh inning, but Bishop Ireton’s baseball team was ready to fold Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals were able to get the tying run in scoring position.
The Cadets then gave the Cardinals an opportunity to knot the game with a wild toss to first base, which allowed Ireton to add a run. But St. John’s quickly recovered the loose ball as Jake Bernstein astutely backed the first baseman and fired the ball to the plate. Bernstein’s hustle was rewarded when Ireton’s potential game tying runner was tagged out at home.
“I thought that was a heck of a play,” said Cadets coach Mark Gibbs. “One by the backup by the second baseman and then by the catcher to catch the short hop and putting the tag on the guy at the plate.”
For Ireton, the play was a mistake as the second runner was supposed to stop at third. But the Ireton coaches couldn’t fault the intensity or desire of the team to make a play in that situation.
“Our runner that was on second base got a good break on the play -- and got a little too close to our runner that was coming from third,” said Ireton first-year coach Rex Thomas. “He picked up our third base coach saying ‘go go go’ to the runner going home. When he heard that he broke. It was worth a chance. We still had a chance there. We couldn’t get mad at anybody. It was just something unfortunate there.”
St. John’s jumped ahead of Ireton 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Adrian Peralta knocked in an RBI. But St. John’s couldn’t build off the play when Ireton came up with a double play to escape the inning.
Ireton countered in the top of the fourth by scoring a run to chip the Cadets advantage down to 3-2.
St. John’s again kept the pressure on Ireton when Brodie Leftridge stole home to push the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
“Our guys played hard and competed,” said Gibbs. “Luckily we came up with hits in key situations to come up with enough runs.”
The Cadets were poised to break the game open with two runners on base, but the Cardinals got out of the jam by tagging out a runner at third.
After neither team could score in the sixth inning, Ireton had an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead in the top of the seventh.
The Cardinals worked the Cadets relief pitcher -- Niko Jenkins -- into two full-count walks to put the tying run on first base.
After Ireton’s Seth Scalsky put the ball In play to advance the Cardinals’ two runners into scoring position, St. John’s countered by bringing in Garrett Pearson to close out the game.
Ireton was only able to add one more run before tag outs at home and second base ended the contest.
St. John's moves to 5-0 in WCAC play with an overall record of 9-3. Meanwhile Ireton falls to 3-4 on the season.