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El Campo runs over St. Joseph in season opener

By BY WILL BROWN - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 17, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.


Like the rest of his team, Michael Wall was off and running Monday night.

El Campo's leadoff hitter walked to begin the 2013 season before immediately sprinting for second on the first pitch from St. Joseph southpaw starter Sam Poland.

Wall went on to steal a second base later in the game, but his first essentially set the tone for the Ricebirds.

El Campo scored four in the first and five more in the second to run away from the Flyers 14-2 in the season opener for both teams.

In addition to pounding 13 hits and earning 11 walks, Russell Krenek's team stole 10 bases.

"We were very aggressive, especially with a lefty," said Wall who was 2 for 3 with four runs scored. "It's this thing Coach (Elliott) Babcock talks to us about. We take advantage of our lefties. Most people are scared of lefties, but we run all over them. We show them that we can control the base paths. We do it well, and we're aggressive with what we do."

That approach was most evident in the second inning when the Ricebirds executed a hit-and-run, stole five bases and took an extra base on a ball hit to the gap.

This does not include Reid Hubenak swiping home to give El Campo a 7-0 lead after Clay Kresta drew a walk and forced the St. Joseph defense to focus on his antics between first and second base. Hubenak (2 for 5) had a 2 RBI triple. Kresta (1 for 3) eventually drove in a pair of runs and scored three more times himself.

"We're aggressive on the bases," Krenek said. "It's not always going to be the first pitch. Once we have a team on the ropes, we try to keep them on the ropes."

Krenek said his defense played well, his team hit well, and the Ricebirds pitching was "OK, but not stellar," despite holding the Flyers to two runs on three hits.

"We played a relatively clean game, but we have work to do," said St. Joseph baseball coach Mike Shimek. "We were a little overmatched tonight. I saw some good things, and I definitely saw some things we need to work on as well."

El Campo pitchers Bryce Brandl and Kory Supak combined to strike out 10 batters in six innings.

Jerry Vasquez hit a two-out 2 RBI triple with two outs in the third inning to bring in Matt Garcia and Eric Alvarez for the Flyers only runs of the evening.

Vasquez stole a base, but the Flyers were not nearly as active as their opponents Monday night. Wall credited Babcock for encouraging them to apply pressure on defenses.

"Coming out my senior year, it's the first game, it was kind of nerve-racking, especially playing these guys," Wall said. "We haven't seen them, but we've played them a couple times in the past. It's a new thing, and it's our first game. I'm glad we came out, stroked the ball well and hit the ground running. It was surprising."

El Campo 14, St. Joseph 2

El Campo 450 014: 14 13 0

St. Joseph 002 000: 2 3 1

Bryce Brandl, Kory Supak and Matt Edwards. Sam Poland, Michael Brawner, Brycen Saxton, Jerry Vasquez, Clayton Davidson and AJ Calvo. WP: Bradl (1-0); LP: Poland (0-1).

TRIPLES: El Campo: Reid Hubenak; St. Joseph: Vasquez. DOUBLES: El Campo: Edwards. STATS: El Campo: Michael Wall 2-3, 4 R, 2 SB, Hubenak 2-5, 3B, SB, 2 RBI, Brandl 2-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, Beau Talley 2-3, 2 RBI, SB, R. St. Joseph: Eric Alvarez 1-3, R, Vasquez 1-2 3B, 2 RBI, SB.

Pitching: Brandl 4IP, 3H, 2R, 2 ER, 6 Ks, Supak 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 K. St. Joseph: Poland .2 IP, 0 H, 4R, 4 ER, 5 BB, Brawner 1.0 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 H, 2K, Saxton 2.1 IP, 2H, 0R, 1 BB, Vasquez 1 IP, 1H, 2Ks, Davidson 1 IP, 5 H, 4R, 4ER, 2 BB.

Records: El Campo 1-0, St. Joseph 0-1.

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