Stephens, Flyers rally past Clay in SOC, 13-3

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024


PORTSMOUTH — This wasn’t exactly a Babe Ruth and Ernie Shore combined no-hitter, but it’ll do as far as the St. Joseph Flyers are concerned.

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In 1917, Ruth walked the first batter and argued with the umpire over a couple of balls that he thought were strikes. A runner was thrown out stealing and Shore proceeded to retire the next 26 batters in a row.

After a 2-week layoff, Evan Balestra was struggling with his control and the Flyers trail the Portsmouth Clay Panthers 3-0. Jake Stephens came on in relief with no outs and retired the side.

Stephens pitched 4 more shutout innings and the Flyers rallied for a 13-3 Southern Ohio Conference win on Tuesday.

Stephens gave up 2 hits, struck out 12 and walked 4 during his 5 innings of work.

“Stephens threw the ball well. . Once we got our rhythm going, we hit the ball well. Lyons hit the ball well and Brady had a couple of nice hits,” said Flyers’ coach Greg Bryant.

“You can’t take two weeks off and expect to play your best right away. We just need to play.”

Clay (4-5, 2-3) scored all its runs in the first inning.

Brandon Malone doubled leading off and went to third on an error. Corey Williams walked and Malone scored on a wild pitch. Aiden Ball singled home Williams, Dawson James was hit by pitch and Cayden McKenzie had an RBI single.

Stephens then came on and retired the side with a ground out and 2 strikeouts.

St. Joseph (5-1, 2-1) tied the game in the third.

Mason Weber led off with a walk, Balestra was hit by a pitch and they pulled off a double steal. Drew Brown was intentionally walked and Carson Lyons and Brady “Quinn” Medinger both followed with a sacrifice fly.

Stephens singled Brown to third and he came home on a wild pitch.

The Flyers scored 6 times in the fourth to go up 9-3.

With one out, Landon Rowe was hit by a pitch, stole second and third and scored on a hit by Weber to give the Flyers the lead for good.

Balestra walked and Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Lyons reached on an error to score Weber and Medinger followed with an RBI single.

Stephens walked to force home Brown and Neal hit into a fielder’s choice as Lyons scored.

St. Joseph got 4 runs in the fifth to create the run-rule win.

With one out, Weber walked, Balestra doubled and Lyons got a 2-out single to drive in both runners. Pinch-runner Ian Whaley stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Medinger’s base hit.

Medinger stole second and third and scored on an error to make it 13-3.

The Flyers had 8 hits with Medinger going 2-3 with 3 RBI, Balestra 1-1 with a double, Stephens 1-1 with an RBI, Weber 1-2, Rowe 1-3, Lyons 1-3 with 3 RBI and Neal 1-4 with an RBI.

The Flyers play at Portsmouth Notre Dame on Wednesday and New Boston on Thursday.

St. Joseph 003 64 = 13 8 2

Ports. Clay 300 00 = 3 5 2

Evan Balestra, Jake Stephens (1) and Jake Stephens, Evan Balestra (1). Zane Ball, Aiden B all (4), Brandon Malone (5) and Isaiah Whitt. W-Stephens (IP-5.0, H-2, R-0, K-12, BB-4). Balestra (IP-0.0, H-3, R-3, ER-3, K-0, BB-0). L-Z Ball (IP-3.1, H-3, R-6, ER-6, K-3, BB-3, HBP-5, WP-1). A Ball (IP-1.0, H-2, R-5, ER-3, K-0, BB-2, HBP-1). Malone (IP-0.2, H-3, R-2, ER-2, K-0, BB-1, WP-1). Hitting–St. Joseph: Landon Rowe 1-3, Mason Weber 1-2, Evan Balestra 1-1 2B, Carson Lyons 1-3 3-RBI, Brady “Quinn” Medinger 2-3 3-RBI, Jake Stephens 1-1 RBI, Wesley Neal 1-4 RBI; Portsmouth Clay: Brandon Malone 1-3 2B, Aiden Ball 1-2 RBI, Dawson James 1-2, Cayden McKenzie 1-2, Isaiah Whitt 1-2.