Reeds Spring jumped out to a 1-0 first inning lead on a home run by senior first baseman Johnathon Locke. The Irish came right back to tie it, manufacturing a run from a one-out single by senior right fielder Eric Smith, a stolen base, a passed ball, and a wild pitch.
Junior third baseman Tyler Ast gave the Irish their first lead with an RBI single in the second to make it 2-1. But Reeds Spring reclaimed the lead with two unearned runs in the top of the third to make it 3-2 Wolves.
Still trailing against left-handed pitcher Joey Longstreet, Catholic would erupt for five runs in the fourth. Ast got it started with a one-out double. Junior shortstop Brayton Ballenger followed with an RBI double, Smith knocked in another with a single, junior first baseman Eric Atwell was hit by a pitch, senior center fielder Colin Shaughnessy hit an RBI single, and senior catcher Robby Ruzicka picked up an RBI on a ground ball.
“Joey Longstreet is our number one starter and he usually fills it up," said Reeds Spring coach Chris Funk. "He didn’t have his good stuff today. When you face a team as offensively talented as Catholic is, you can’t walk leadoff guys and you’ve got to stay away from big innings. The five-run fourth inning really killed us.”
The Irish outburst gave junior right hander Matthew Tipton a 7-3 lead to work with and he turned in six solid innings of four hit pitching and allowed only one earned run.
“We were sloppy on defense and gave them two runs in the third inning. Tipton didn’t have his best stuff today. He’s a pretty solid pitcher when he’s really on," said Catholic head coach Jason Daugherty. "Reeds Spring hit him a little bit and put the ball in play. They did a good job of scrapping with him. For not having his best stuff, he competed well and stayed after them, kept getting outs, and pretty soon we were in good shape to put the game away.”
Daugherty was also pleased with the offensive output of his squad.
“Just like any sport, baseball is about momentum," said Daugherty. "You get a little something going and players’ bats get a little quicker. Once you get your first guy breaking through, everybody else starts following suit. Those big innings have helped us out and it was the difference in the game today.”
Senior catcher Robby Ruzicka led the Irish offense with three RBI. Ballenger, Smith, and Ast each had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Senior third baseman Dean Rogers paced the Reeds Spring attack with two hits.
There was no junior varsity game as Catholic was to play a second varsity game against Buffalo immediately following the game against Reeds Spring.
Reeds Spring will host Monett Thursday. Springfield Catholic will play a doubleheader Saturday at Marshfield, facing Marshfield and West Plains.
R H E
Reeds Spring 102 000 0 - 3 4 4
Catholic 110 502 x - 9 11 1
Catholic 110 502 x - 9 11 1
WP - Matthew Tipton
LP - Joey Longstreet
Reeds Spring: Joey Longstreet, Johnathon Locke (HR), Dean Rogers 2 (2B).
Catholic: Brayton Ballenger 2 (2B), Eric Smith 2, Colin Shaughnessy, Danny Richardson, Robby Ruzicka (2B), Drew Rash (2B), Cal Deck, Tyler Ast 2 (2B).
Records – Reeds Spring 10-6, Catholic 17-2.