HENDERSONVILLE The Pope John Paul II High baseball team had a better offensive showing on Tuesday evening, rolling to an 8-2 victory over Madison (Ohio) at Servpro Field.
The Knights piled up 12 hits after managing just five the previous night, in a 4-3 loss to visiting La Salle (Ohio) High.
“We’re improving every game,” PJP II junior catcher Jack Shuttleworth said. “Our approaches are improving. Every batting practice, we focus on certain situations. That’s really helped us.”
After Knight sophomore Jake Rucker’s two-out single drove in two runs in the first inning, PJP II erupted for five runs in the fourth, which was also aided by two errors.
Junior Ben Brooks and Shuttleworth had back-to-back doubles, and junior Pace Dempsey and senior Ryan Hatten followed with run-scoring singles.
Junior Jordan Weems doubled in the fifth and scored on Brooks’ single to create an 8-0 lead.
“We knew the offense was going to be a process,” Knight head coach Michael Brown said. “We have to pitch and play defense. All of the games we’ve lost have been because of a lack of command and defense. We have to get that together.
“We know the offense is coming. We swung it a little better than we have (recently).”
Knight sophomore Matt Steidl tossed three innings of one-hit baseball to pick up the win, and junior teammate Nate Pianto came on to hurl three innings of hitless relief. Steidl struck out four hitters, while Pianto fanned two.
Hatten pitched the seventh, surrendering two runs to the Rams.
“They were very good,” Shuttleworth said of the pitching staff. “We’re trying to expand the latter half of our staff. It’s coming along nicely. Throwing strikes is the big thing.”
>> Dempsey and Rucker singled and scored runs in Monday’s loss, in which the Lancers rallied for two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to overcome a 2-0 deficit and then a 3-2 deficit.
Following Tuesday’s win, the PJP II offense cooled off again later in the evening, suffering a 10-4 loss to Nazareth (Ill.) Academy.
The Knights (4-7) used five pitchers, with the first four combining to allow seven hits and issue 10 walks.
Garrett Taylor pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two hitters.
Brooks had two of his squad’s three hits and scored three runs.
Reach Craig Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
Madison 000 000 2 – 2 4 4
PJP II 200 510 x – 8 12 1
Austin Kohler, Layne Berrier (2), Logan Daniels (4) and Trenton Mortimer; Matt Steidl, Nate Pianto (4), Ryan Hatten (7) and Jack Shuttleworth. WP – Steidl. LP – Kohler. Records: Madison 0-2, PJP II 4-7.