Businesslike St. Michael Guardians stymie error-prone Van Horn Falcons

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

There was nothing sexy or spectacular in the methodical way coach Mike Stringer's St. Michael the Archangel Catholic baseball team claimed a 7-1 victory over Van Horn.

"Our guys just went about business and got the job done today," Stringer said after the Guardians improved to 10-6-2 on a hot and windy Tuesday afternoon at Roper Stadium in Sugar Creek. "We didn't have any big innings or big plays to mention, but when you get a run or two in the first five innings, and play the type of defense we played today, you should win the game."

Van Horn third baseman Kaleb Johnson, right, tags out St. Michael the Archangel Catholic runner Matt Davis in Tuesday's game at Roper Stadium in Sugar Creek. Despite the out, St. Michael claimed a 7-1 victory over the host Falcons.

It was a different story for coach Jay Kolster's 6-12 Falcons, who had nearly as many errors (five) as hits (six).

"The team that can catch the ball usually gets the win," Kolster said. "That was certainly the case today. You can't give a good team like St. Michael all those extra at bats because it comes back to hurt you. We didn't play very well, but I have a lot of faith in our guys and know we're going to play our best ball when it counts later in the season."

Falcons catcher Cooper Sumpter, who had two hits and scored the lone run on the Guardians' only error of the game, said this loss will get his team even more motivated for a 1 p.m. contest Thursday against William Chrisman at Kauffman Stadium.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic runner Caleb Briggs (13) beats the throw to Van Horn catcher Cooper Sumpter to score a run in Tuesday's game at Roper Stadium in Sugar Creek. St. Michael went on to a 7-1 victory.

"We're not going to be as motivated to play at The K as we will be rebounding after this loss and playing our big rival William Chrisman," Sumpter said. "This game was disappointing – we're a much better team that we showed today. I know we're going to come back strong and give Chrisman a good game."

Van Horn starter Korey Messick allowed a solo home run to St. Michael's Caleb Berry in a two-run first inning. He allowed five runs (three earned) in four innings.

"We were lucky to catch him today," Stringer said, "because I've seen him pitch and he's lights out. He throws hard and has good control. He didn't allow any big innings today, but we were able to get our runs in the first five innings and Alex (Wilding) did a great job on the mound for us today."

Van Horn pitcher Korey Messick throws to a St. Michael the Archangel Catholic batter in Tuesday's game at Roper Stadium in Sugar Creek. Messick and the host Falcons fell 7-1 to the Guardians.

Wilding allowed just one unearned run in four innings.

"On the road, against a good team, it's huge to give your pitcher an early lead," said Berry, who also had a single and scored two runs. "When we got the two runs in the top of the first, Alex knew we had his back and we were going to support him in the field and at the plate."