The St. James baseball team had a busy start to their week with road trips to Sullivan and Salem. Monday's matchup with Sullivan was originally slated to be a home game, but poor field conditions moved the game to Sullivan's turf field. The Tigers couldn't contain Sullivan's offense in a 6-4 loss, but bounced back well against Salem on Tuesday. After an early hiccup, St. James got the comeback win 4-3 over their District rival.
St. James remained the home team on the scoreboard against Sullivan, which opened the door for the Eagles to strike first. Sullivan plated two runs in the top of the first, while St. James pushed one across in the bottom of the frame. Sullivan tacked on two more runs in the third, before the Tigers tied the game at four with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Eagles didn't slow down though, as they plated another run in the fourth, before scoring another in the fifth. St. James was out of responses, as they took a 6-4 loss.
Rustin Branum got the start on the mound for St. James, surrendering all six runs in six innings of work. Branum allowed nine hits and walked three, while striking out one. Derek Skaggs closed the game with a perfect seventh, striking out one batter in the process.
Offensively, St. James managed five hits in the loss. Two of those came from Dyllan Gibson, as he also scored a run, had an RBI and stole a base. Skaggs drove in two runs and had a base hit in the loss. Lyndon Carson also drove in a run with a sacrifice. Andrew Branson was 1-2 with two runs scored for the Tigers.
St. James didn't have much time to dwell on the loss, as they hit the field against Salem on Tuesday. Branson handled the pitching duties for St. James and pitched extremely well. His only hiccup came in the third inning when Salem was able to get three runs across, though only two of those runs were earned for Branson. After that, the Tiger junior settled back in and held Salem off the board for the rest of the game.
Trailing by three runs, the Tigers needed a spark and they were finally able to get going in the fifth. St. James got two runs across in the fifth, before two more scored in the sixth. Gibson and Trey Riley did the heavy lifting, as each of them drove in a pair of runs to put St. James in front 4-3. Andrew Branson finished off the final two frames on the mound to give St. James a 4-3 victory.
Branson finished the game with three runs allowed, though only two were earned, on five hits and no walks. He also struck out six batters on the way to the win.
Offensively, Gibson was electric, going 3-4 with two RBI and a steal. Riley added a hit and two RBI, while Carson had two base knocks. St. James collected nine base hits, walked once and stole three bases as a team.
"We played a Salem team who I think is better than what their record indicates," said head coach Shannon Snitker on Salem, who holds a record of 2-6. "I was happy with our focus for the last three innings of the game. We started off with some mental mistakes, but Andrew did a good job of staying focused on the mound and only allowed runs in the third inning. Dyllan Gibson has been swinging the bat well and playing well in the field to help us."
The Tigers aren't done yet for the week, as long as Mother Nature doesn't interfere. St. James will head to Owensville on Thursday looking for their first official Four Rivers Conference win of the season. St. James beat the Dutchmen in the Four Rivers Conference Tournament 8-7 earlier this season.