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Flyers overcome early hole to win fourth straight

April 23, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 22, 2012 at 11:23 p.m.

St. Joseph short stop Justin Oliver connects with the ball for an hit in the bottom of the first inning. Oliver went three for three with two runs batted in.JONATHAN HINDERLITER/JHINDERLITER@VICAD.COM

The connection between grapefruits and South Texas has been cultivated over the past 120 years.

That made it fitting it was the fruit St. Joseph shortstop Justin Oliver said he saw at the plate Monday afternoon.

Oliver led the Flyers to a 7-2 victory over visiting Austin St. Stephens after going 3 for 3 from the plate with a pair of RBIs. His first RBI single brought in Jarret Ortmann to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead in the home first.

"Going up and hitting in clutch moments that was a really good addition for us," Oliver said. "Our defense was working tonight."

St. Joseph (11-10) committed only one error, an errant throw from Oliver in the top of the first. The Spartans (12-11) had a runner on third, but he somehow didn't trot home to give St. Stephens a 3-0 lead.

The mental mistake proved costly as St. Joseph pitcher Jerry Vasquez scattered six hits over seven innings to win his fourth game of the season.

"We had a chance to score the third run in the first," said St. Stephens head coach John Keller. "We had an over throw at first and our runner at third didn't take advantage. That seemed to put momentum on their side. They never seemed to relinquish the momentum back to our side."

After allowing two runs in the first inning, Vasquez didn't allow anything else. The closest he came to allowing a third run was in the fifth when the Spartans had runners second and third with two outs.

Vasquez walked cleanup hitter Evan Coates on five pitches before forcing third baseman Jake Politte to fly out center fielder Stephen Boedeker to end the threat.

St. Joseph scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to break the game open. Clayton Davidson drove in his third RBI of the game with a single in the sixth. Sophomore AJ Calvo followed with another RBI single.

In all, the top five batters in Mike Shimek's lineup scored Monday afternoon. Toward the bottom of the order Oliver and Eric Alvarez drove in a combined three runs.

Oliver said his goal at the plate was to take whatever St. Stephen's pitcher Gabe Sperling offered-even if the sub 75 mile an hour heaters looked like citrus.

"It was pretty much like a grapefruit," Oliver said. "I could see (everything). It was just a good day for batting for me."

Rain and other weather conditions made Monday's game just the second completed contest in the last 10 days for St. Joseph. Yet, the Flyers showed no ill effects from the relative layoff on an afternoon where immaculate skies and sunshine drenched Riverside Stadium.

However, Shimek added the need for in-game experience was one reason St. Joseph added Wednesday's game against San Antonio Central Catholic to the schedule.

"To spot them two runs in the first and then come back and win the inning is big," Shimek said. "It set a tone for us and I was very pleased in our ability to come back and win the inning."



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