Wildcats win three straight
Published 12:43 pm Friday, March 9, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
RESERVE — East St. John began the season 0-4 despite some strong play against some of the state’s strongest teams. The Wildcats saw their improved level of play result in victories last weekend, though, as East St. John extended a winning streak to three with wins over Fisher and Riverdale at the Grace King tournament.
The Wildcats (3-6) finished 2-1 at the tourney overall, closing it out with a loss to Lakeshore.
The win over Fisher (4-4) came in dramatic fashion, Darnell Lee coming through as the hero in a 10-9 victory in eight innings.
Lee’s RBI single supplied the winning run, that base hit one of Lee’s three hits on the day. I’Kee Brown also collected a trio of hits to help lead the ESJ offense.
Against Riverdale (2-5), East St. John’s Ryan Foster spun a complete game two-hitter to earn his first victory of the season. Brown socked three hits for the Wildcats while Phil Adams, Lee and Ashton Lewis all had a pair of hits for East St. John.
“The biggest thing for us is we started hitting with men on base,” said East St. John coach Curtis Tsuruda. “That has been our Achilles’ heel so far. In our wins, we’ve come away with timely hits with men on base. That’s allowed us to get the big inning, whether it’s three runs one day or five or six on another.”
Tsuruda said that generating those big innings, more often than not, comes down to each player understanding his role. That role, Tsuruda said, is to simply continue the inning.
“Everyone thinks with men on base, it’s their job to come up and get the big home run. But no,” he said. “A single, a walk … Just kept it going. We don’t care how you do it.”
Lakeshore (6-1) stopped the Wildcats’ winning streak at three, winning 10-1 last Saturday. Lee and Diontra Rixner each had a pair of hits.
Against Dunham (8-1) on Tuesday, the Wildcats fell 9-1, after the Tigers scored five first inning runs.
Daniel Franklin led the ESJ offense with a pair of hits.
Tsuruda said that the Fisher win, coupled with an 11-8 win over Terrebonne on Feb. 28, represented important steps for as program trying to take a big step forward in 2012.
“East St. John over the last 10 years has had a history of losing the close games, these 15-12 slugfests,” Tsuruda said. “Those wins showed our guys that if everyone plays their part, we can come through in those games.”