The St. James baseball team made the trip to St. Clair on Wednesday, April 17 for a Four Rivers Conference matchup. Pitching was the name of the game between the two conference rivals, but St. James was able to take an early lead and hold on for a 2-0 victory.
Andrew Branson was electric on the mound for the Tigers, pitching a complete game shutout. He scattered four hits and a walk, while striking out six in the process. He was also aided by an early lead. St. James managed to push one run across in the second and another in the third. Tyler Teague got things started with an RBI single to right in the second, before Dyllan Gibson legged out an infield single for an RBI in the third. Branson took it from there, finishing out a shutout in seven innings of work.
Offensively, St. James collected eight base knocks. Garret Gibson and Derek Skaggs each collected multiple hits for the Tigers with Skaggs also making his way around to score for St. James. Logan Saxbury added a run as a pinch runner.
Branson pitched his best game of the season on Wednesday and head coach Shannon Snitker loved what he saw out of his junior pitcher.
"He pitched a four hit, complete game 79 pitch shutout. You can't get much more efficient than that," said coach Snitker. "He just did a great job. He had multiple pitches working and kept the players off balance. It was good to see him throw as well as he did. I know he was capable of it and I think that was the first time all year that he's put it all together in a pretty dominating performance on the mound."
After defeating Belle on Tuesday, St. James has now strung a couple of wins together. The opened the week with three straight games and will now get a little time off for Easter, before returning to the Four Rivers Conference for a matchup with Pacific. Coach Snitker hopes the two wins paired with a little time off will help the Tigers be ready to go on Monday.
"I've been preaching consistency to these kids. They've had the ability and I've known they had the ability all along, but they finally started to show it with two games back to back with zeros and a couple of timely hits. I think everybody is starting to get into a little rhythm," said the St. James head coach. "If you come to the ballpark with the right mindset every single day and play to the best of your ability, I think we can be a pretty good baseball team and the last two games have shown that."