Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Springfield Catholic Fightin’ Irish baseball team was hungry for a win Monday afternoon and it showed early. A big five-run first inning was just a preview of things to come, as the Irish dominated Houston in the semifinals of Class 3 District 10 play at Catholic’s Knights of Columbus Field, 21-3.
The second inning saw the Irish send 16 men to the plate, scoring 11 runs on eight hits, four walks and a hit batsman. Catholic scored every inning in the game, until it was called after five innings due to the run rule.
“We hit the ball hard for the most part all day,” said Irish head coach Jason Daugherty. “We had two pretty poor outings in a row prior to this, so we had to be due sometime.”
Senior second baseman Danny Richardson led the onslaught with a 4-4 day, driving in the first two Irish runs with a booming double in the first inning. He would add three singles and another RBI.
“I’ve been feeling a lot more confident at the plate,” said Richardson. “I’ve been working on my swing and getting a lot of cage work. It felt good to come through for our team today.”
Robby Ruzicka started the uprising in the second inning with a leadoff double. He would hit a bases loaded three-run double later in the same inning.
“It was a big team win and everybody came through,” said Ruzicka. “It was just one of those days when everybody was getting on and getting hits. Today was a great team win and a good way to bounce back after our last two games.”
Junior third baseman Tyler Ast also collected two hits during the big second inning, as he drove in four runs in that frame.
“I just hope we keep it up,” said Daugherty. “As a coach, I want to win, that’s my priority. But those kids work hard, and every hit they get, I’m just happy for them. I want them to do so well and succeed.”
Junior right hander Matthew Tipton was the beneficiary of the run support. He held the Tigers scoreless in his four innings of work, limiting them to four singles as he struck out seven.
Houston center fielder Quinton Alston had two hits and two RBI for the Tigers who finished their season 9-11.
The top-seeded Irish improve their season to 19-4, and they will face third-seeded Ava in Tuesday’s 6:00 p.m. district championship game at Catholic.
Ava (14-7) knocked off the Strafford Indians 7-0 in the other semifinal game, as Ben Loge threw a complete game shutout, striking out 15.
“It’s going to be a battle tomorrow, we know that,” Daugherty said. “But we’ve gone through some tough times here lately and I think we’re pretty focused. We’re going to come out here and see what happens.”
R H E
Houston 0 0 0 0 3 - 3 7 1
Catholic 5 (11) 2 3 x - 21 19 2
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