DuBOIS — St. Marys used strong pitching and timely hitting late in the game to secure a 5-2 victory over DuBois in both team’s season opener at Showers Field Wednesday.
Dutchman starting pitcher Nate Beimel shut DuBois (0-1) down in the early going, as the senior held the home side hitless through three innings, allowing just three batters to reach on walks and striking out five as St. Marys (1-0) led 2-0.
The Beavers finally broke through in the bottom of the first inning, as Eric Schneider led off the inning by reaching on a hit by pitch.
Beimel then struck out Justin Swauger, but the strike three pitch got away from catcher Jake Meeker, allowing Schneider to advance to second.
Jordan Frano followed with DuBois’ first hit of the afternoon, as he drove a pitch back up the middle to bring Schneider around to score and cut the deficit in half.
After Beimel fanned Cullen Corle for his seventh strikeout of the game and second out of the inning, Chase Husted kept the inning alive by drawing a walk.
With Dayne Bauman at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Frano and Husted to advance to second and third, as Bauman followed with a chopper to the right side, beating out the throw for an RBI infield single to tie the game at two.
After another walk issued to Heath Means loaded the bases, Beimel was able to get out of the jam with yet another strikeout, this time of Chandler Ho, to send the game into the fifth tied at two.
The Dutch quickly recaptured the lead in the top of the fifth with a trio of singles against reliever Garrett Starr.
“The one things I noticed with these guys is they have an expectation of themselves,” St. Marys head coach A.J. Meeker said. “We don’t get worked up or nervous if we are down a run or two runs or tied up, they just go and do their job.”
“I never see them panic, everybody stays cool and we do our thing and hopefully it comes to our favor in the end.”
Brandon Sicheri got the inning started with a bloop single down the left-field line, as Meeker followed with a single to center field to give St. Marys two on with nobody out.
After Starr caught Beimel looking for the first out of the frame, Shane Price ripped a line drive to Swauger at third base, as the ball took a quick hop and deflected off the third baseman and into foul territory down the left-field line.
Sicheri was able to score from second, as Meeker attempted to race around and score from first on the play, but DuBois left fielder Ho chased down the ball and fired a perfect throw to Frano at home to catch Meeker by several feet for the second out of the inning.
The Beavers looked to respond in the bottom half against Dutch relief pitcher Matt Bellina, as Schneider reached on a one-out walk and Swauger followed by reaching on an error as the Dutch lost a high fly ball in the infield.
Frano then grounded out to third, but was able to advance both runners into scoring position, but Bellina got out of the inning by striking out Corle.
St. Marys added to its lead in the sixth, as Kael Azzato led off by ripping a pitch just inside the left-field line for a double, before coming around to score on a single to left by Paul Armanini.
After Connor Bressler advanced Armanini to second with a sacrifice bunt, Greg Tettis came in to pinch run for Armanin at second with one out in the inning.
After a strikeout, Meeker came up with a two-out RBI by driving a double to the wall in right center field to push the lead to 5-2 for the Dutch.
Jeremy Krise came in to pitch the top of the seventh for DuBois, as he was able to work around a lead-off walk to keep the Beavers within three runs.
Ho attempted to spark a rally in the bottom of the seventh as he led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left, but Bellina was able to retire the next three batters to close out the victory for St. Marys.
The Dutch finished the game with 13 hits, including four doubles, as Meeker said if his team just needs to work on stringing their hits together.
“We knew going in that we have a pretty deep lineup as far as getting hits,” Meeker said. “We know that five is going to be a little bit higher if we keep hitting the ball.”
“13 (hits) for a game is pretty amazing, so we just need to put some together and get some crooked numbers up there, that’s all.”
Bellina and Beimel combined to strike out 11 and allow just three hits and six walks in the win for the Dutch.
Beimel, the TCS/C-E Player of the Year in 2018, went four innings with the start, allowing two runs on two hits and five walks and striking out eight.
In relief, Bellina went three innings, surrendering one hit and one walk, while fanning three.
Meeker said it was nice to see his pitchers perform so well their first time out.
“We knew what we had in Beimel, he’s got some improving to do, but it’s the first game of the season,” Meeker said. “It was an excellent job by (Bellina) coming in and shutting everybody down.”
“I’m very, very pleased of what we did on the mound today and defensively.”
St. Marys was able to manufacture a run in the top of the first to take the early lead, as Sicheri led off the game with a double down the line in right, then advanced to third on a sac bunt by Meeker.
After Beimel drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one away, Price flew out to deep right field to score Sicheri for the game’s first run.
The game remained 1-0 into the third, as Meeker, Beimel and Price opened the top of the inning with three straight singles for the Dutch to load the bases with no outs.
Garret Bauer then hit a grounder to Schneider at short, who fired to Starr at second, who turned the double play over toe first baseman Corle.
The double play did allow Sicheri to come in to score to push the Dutchman’s lead to 2-0.
The Beavers able to break through for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on its first two hits of the game, but only manage one hit in the final three innings as St. Marys six in that stretch to score three runs to secure the 5-2 win.
DuBois head coach Todd Stiner said he had hoped for his team coming in that they would be within a couple runs when Beimel handed the ball over on the mound, but said he felt his team’s approach at the plate got worse in the three innings after Beimel exited the game.
“To be tied after four when he (Beimel came out was a blessing,” Stiner said. “Credit to their pitcher (Bellina), in the fifth, sixth and seventh we went flat and did not answer at all.”
The Beavers head coach added that on the other side of things, his pitchers need to work on getting ahead in the count on more hitters.
“We’re not a power staff at all, we don’t have anyone that’ll blow the ball by anybody, but we have to get on top and that way you have a chance,” Stiner said.
“We’ve got work to do, we’re inexperienced at some points but we just gotta keep working hard and get better and every game and experience you take it and try to approve and that’s all you can do.”
DuBois is back in action Friday as it hosts Indiana at Showers Field at 3 p.m., while St. Marys returns to the diamond Monday at home against Elk County Catholic.