Cats capture victory over Brebeuf Jesuit

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Jasper senior Grant Stratton (13) throws a pitch during the first inning of Friday evening’s game against Brebeuf Jesuit in Jasper. Stratton pitched a complete game in the Wildcats’ 8-3 win over the Braves.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

JASPER — Jasper (24-2) senior pitcher Grant Stratton established a high standard in the early stages of Friday evening’s game against Brebeuf Jesuit. Stratton controlled his pace, mixed his spots and recorded quick outs during his start on the mound.

He tossed a no-hit bid for 6.1 innings, and his complete-game outing proved to be crucial during the Wildcats’ 8-3 win over the Braves in their regular-season finale.

“He gives you everything he has every time he’s out there,” Jasper head coach Terry Gobert said.

Jasper never trailed in a game where Stratton’s ample run support arrived in a variety of fashions. The Cats employed a lethal combination of small ball and deep drives during the opening stanzas. The diverse attack allowed Jasper to rack up four consecutive crooked numbers.

“We’ve been struggling with that,” Gobert said. “We’ve been going with big innings and then nothing. That was definitely a goal of ours tonight — to try to score every inning. We manufactured some runs. We got our bunts down, like you have to do in the tournament.”

The Cats did not plate a run in the fifth inning, but three insurance runs created a critical gap in the bottom of the sixth. Brebeuf scored its only three runs in the top of the seventh, so Jasper’s additional tallies loomed large.

Gobert credited the Cats for their abilities to move runners over with sacrifice bunts. Jasper’s flurry of runs ignited the home crowd, but the first-base dugout was especially pleased after the Cats executed several precise bunts.

“I liked our dugout,” Gobert said. “They seemed to understand how important something like that is. As long as we can last, we’re going to see good pitching. You’re going to have to be able to do that.”

Jasper accumulated nine hits, while Brebeuf mustered just three. Cats junior Connor Foley led the charge with a 3-for-3 evening at the dish. Foley ripped two doubles, knocked in a run and scored two more in his potent performance.

“I just like the fact that we manufactured runs,” Gobert said. “We had some really good at-bats. That was the key to me in this game, and Grant gave us a chance to win a ball game.”

Stratton’s final pitching line signified his solid work on the bump. The senior struck out five Brebeuf batters, allowed two earned runs and issued just three walks in his start. He didn’t hesitate to help his own cause, as he recorded a 2-for-2 output and knocked in an additional run.

Jasper opens Sectional 16 play against Castle on Thursday at Bosse Field. The Cats earned a 5-2 win over the Knights on May 4.

“They know what’s at stake,” Gobert said. “Other than that, it’s just the same. Give them three outs or less, use all three of ours and put the ball in play. That’s what we have to do to have a chance.”




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