Tiger baseball takes 1st game in best of three series

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Preston Martinez, 13, and Patrick Vienne celebrate their win.

The Tigers, as the number 4 seed in the Division IV playoffs hosted the #13 seed St. Fredericks Warriors for the best of three series. In advance of predicted inclement weather, the game was moved up to 4 p.m. Thursday.

The 26-5 Tigers put their ace senior pitcher on the mound. Three up, three down was the order of things for the top and bottom of the first inning. Patrick Vienne gets Garrett Taylor to ground out in the top of the second before issuing a base on balls to Mayronne. The six-hole hitter goes down swinging before Brenden Woods is on first for the Warriors after Drake Griffin is cited for catcher interference.

This article published in the Weekend, May 1-2, 2021, print edition
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That is all Vienne allowed before retiring the next batter and the Warrior’s strand two base runners in the top of the second. In the bottom of the frame, The Tigers go down again in order, with Fidelak flying out, Slaughter going down swinging and Bienvenu flying out. The Warriors get their third batter on base with a walk from Vienne before Marsala flies out to end the inning.

Russ Hillhouse, Ben Bienvenu, Payne Williams, Ethan Busby and Mixon Bankston share the victory with friends and bystanders

Another runner stranded for the Warriors. In the bottom of the third, Bankston reaches on error by the third baseman with two outs. The top of the order, and Payne Williams gets on with a base on balls before the inning ends and the Tigers strand two. Through three innings, no scoring by either team. The Warriors get Mayronne on base, but he is stranded at second base. In the bottom of the fourth, Vienne smokes a line drive down the third base line for a single. Fidelak singles with a ground ball hit to third. Vienne gets picked off at second by the catcher who saw an opportunity and then Nathan Slaughter lines out to left. With two outs, Ben Bienvenu is hit by a pitch and that has Fidelak at second and Bienvenu at first with two outs. In a tragic repeat of Vienne being picked off, it happens again when Warrior catcher T. Marsala picks off Fidelak at second base to end the inning. Sloppy base running costs the Tigers in the fourth. Vienne allows a hit then a ground out and then a walk. The Warriors have two runners with one out and Vienne k’s Foster for the second out of the inning.

The Warrior catcher, Marsala, doubles, scoring two for the Warriors. St. Fred’s leads 2-0 in the middle of the fifth. Saint Mary’s is unable to answer, and the Tiger batters go down in order in the bottom of the fifth. The DH, Cade Jordan, singles to lead off the sixth. Another single by Woods gets two on base and no outs for St. Fred’s. Tanehill strikes out swinging then Dansby singles and a runner scores. That puts the Warriors up 3-0 and they have two base runners on before a fly out and ground out get Vienne out of the jam. Tigers enter the bottom of the sixth needing runs. Williams goes down swinging as the lead off batter. Noah Heard singles on ground ball to second.

Vienne rips a shot down the third base line. Graeme Fidelak reaches on an error by the pitcher who cannot handle a toss from the first baseman as he is going to cover first. Bases loaded with one out. Slaughter singles on a line drive to left and he is rewarded with two RBIs as the seniors Heard and Vienne score. Trailing 3-2, the base runner advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Bienvenu reaches on walk and the bases are again loaded. Drake Griffin hits a blooper into RF and Fidelak scores.

A tie game now at 3 with only one out and bases loaded. Warriors change pitchers after Rightsell goes five 1/3 innings. Ethan Busby attempts sac bunt against the new pitcher but the third baseman handles it and gets the force out at home on a close call. With two outs, Mixon Bankston is in the batters’ box when Bienvenu scores on a wild pitch and the Tigers take the lead 4-3. Bankston grounds out and the Tigers strand two base runners but lead 4-3 and need only three outs to secure the victory. Warriors go down in order in the top of the seventh.

#10 Marsala runs the count full before striking out swinging. #1 Taylor also rune the count full before going down swinging. #4 Mayronne is the last hope for the Warriors and he also ran the count full before being called out looing at strike three. Saint Mary’s wins 4-3 in a close and good game. They return to the diamond on Friday for game two and three if necessary. Vienne pitched the entire game striking out 13 and only giving up four hits.

After the game he said, “The Warrior pitcher had a deceptive delivery, and the catcher got the best of them on the base paths.”