The St. Paul's Crusaders are convinced that early offense is better than late offense.
After using a 12-run third inning Monday to finish off Park, 12-2, in the first round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs, the Crusaders waited an inning longer yesterday. Justin Singleton's grand slam capped a four-run fourth inning and carried host St. Paul's to an 11-1 win over Mount Carmel and into tomorrow's tournament championship game.
Mount Carmel will play the winner of the St. Mary's/Park game today with the winner to meet St. Paul's in the final.
"We want to get off to a good start, set the tone for the rest of the game and pressure the opposing defense, said St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf. "We missed some chances in the first couple innings but in big games great players make big plays and Justin is a tremendous athlete."
Mount Carmel (11-8) stayed in the game early behind starting pitcher Shaun Stallman, who held the Crusaders (18-2) to three hits over three innings by mixing off-speed pitches with a good fastball. But with two outs in fourth and the Cougars trailing 2-1, Stallman worked himself into a jam he couldn't get out of.
With St. Paul's leadoff hitter Alton Hill at first after being hit by a pitch, an error by Cougars' second baseman Shawn Byrd put runners at first and second. Then Stallman prolonged the inning by walking John Dansicker to load the bases for Singleton. Singleton fell behind in the count 0-2, but after Stallman missed with three straight curveballs, he hammered an inside fastball over the right field fence that pushed St. Paul's lead to 6-1.
"I just tried to stay patient. He threw a couple curveballs, then gave me a fastball inside and I went with it," said Singleton, who also committed three errors at shortstop.
The Crusaders came right back at Stallman in the next inning, getting a leadoff double by Adair Newhall and RBI singles by Brian Pierson and Khris LaBadie to increase their lead to 8-1.
Meanwhile, St. Paul's starting pitcher Newhall, who needed just six pitches to get out of the fourth inning, retired five of the next seven batters to record the win.
"We only ask our pitchers to do one thing and that's to throw the ball over and we'll play good defense," said Bernstorf. "We had some trouble in the field in the second but Newhall pitched well and threw a lot of groundball outs."
Justin Miller got the victory and Brian Green had two home runs and five RBIs as host St. Mary's (9-6) stayed alive in the MIAA B Conference playoffs. The Saints, who lost on Monday to Mount Carmel, will travel to Mount Carmel again today at 3: 45 p.m. The loser will be eliminated and the winner advances to tomorrow's championship game at St. Paul's against the Crusaders, 11-1 winners over Mount Carmel yesterday.
Pub Date: 5/22/96