SHERRARD -- Alleman baseball coach Chris Lemon gave starting pitcher Miguel Sierra one mission: "Get the game into the seventh inning."|
The mission came largely due to the fact that Alleman, 7-0 after the 8-3 win over Sherrard at the Joel Brunsvold Complex, was playing its sixth game in six days, with a conference doubleheader against Moline on Saturday.
Sierra did that and was fairly sterling up until the seventh.
Spotted an 8-1 lead going into the final frame, Sierra struggled throwing strikes, walking the first two batters and hitting the next.
"I challenged him coming into the game, told him he needed to get us deep into the game," Lemon said, "And he just did that; he was efficient and threw strikes. That was huge."
Sierra got the next batter to fly out to short rightfield, but couldn't retire the next two. Mitch Smith hit a sharp ground ball to third base that was mishandled, scoring a run, and Blake Lampo deposited a single into right to score the Tigers' second run. Sierra gave way to John Tracey following the bases-loaded single. Tracey set down the next two batters, giving him his first save on the season and Sierra his second win.
In his first six innings, Sierra gave up just two hits and struck out four, while walking just one.
Sherrard (6-2) pitchers Brian King and Aaron Haskins were just as stingy when it came to giving up hits, holding the first four Pioneers to a 1-for-13 day.
However, they weren't as lucky when it came to surrendering walks. The Tiger duo, while giving up just five hits,also walked six and hit a pair.That spelled doom for Sherrard as six of those eight Alleman base runners crossed the plate.
"We have to not put ourselves in bad positions," said Sherrard coach Sean McCollum. "We walked a pair to start the inning twice. That gives them three chances to score a run. We can't give away runs."
Alleman's No. 5 hitter Taner Ledezma was responsible for three of the six Pioneer walks, scoring runs on each.
"It was a good win for us," said Ledezma, who also stole a base and hit a double, "It definitely gives us confidence going into Saturday against Moline. Hopefully we bring our best and get a sweep."