By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
FAUCETT - Bishop LeBlond scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to force a tie, but Mid-Buchanan (10-3) scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to fend off the Eagles, 6-3, on Tuesday at Mid-Buchanan High School.
Playing their first game in five days, the Dragons were a bit slow to start and were held without a hit in the first two innings.
Mid-Buchanan got on the board first in the bottom of the third, however. Sophomore Zach Kelly singled up the middle and was able to steal both second and third base.
Kelly was brought home on an RBI single to left by sophomore Derek Sprague, and an RBI groundout by senior Cade Bradford gave the Dragons a 2-0 lead after three.
Senior Tyler Brown did his part on the mound as well, striking out six batters through the first three innings.
"Our pitching was excellent," Mid-Buchanan coach Rod Elms said. "I think we walked only two people and only hit one. Hitting locations. That was a good thing to see, plus we played pretty good defense. It was just an all around good baseball game."
After the Dragons scored another run in the fourth, LeBlond got their bats going in the fifth. With one out and nobody on, sophomore Jake Korell reached first on an error, and junior Alex Libel reached on a full-count walk right after.
After that, junior Chris Guldan, senior Will Atkinson and junior Bradeyn Dawson each hit RBI singles consecutively to tie the game at 3-3.
Junior Caiden Bailey replaced Brown on the mound, and a flyout to left and a subsequent throw down to third base resulted in a double play and ended the inning, keeping the tie intact.
The Dragons quickly got the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. Sprague knocked a one-out single to center and swiped second and third base. He scored on an RBI groundout from Bradford.
Sprague went 2-of-3 at the plate with a run scored, an RBI and two stolen bases.
"He's just a baseball nut," Elms said of Sprague. "I mean, he'll go and stay late after practice or go and watch JV. He's a good kid, and I'll put him anywhere out here. He's just a good baseball kid. Just loves the game."
After Bailey put the Eagles down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth, Mid-Buchanan tacked on two more runs on a pair of hits, sparked by a right-field triple off the bat of senior Javan Noyes, who scored a team-high two runs, while driving in a run and stealing two bases.
Bailey, who got the win on the mound in 2.2 innings of work, put the Eagles down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game. Bailey didn't allow a hit and struck out two batters.
In 4.1 innings, Brown struck out eight and walked only one in an overall solid start on the mound.
"Again, awesome job by both of them," Elms said of his pitchers. "It was just awesome."
LeBlond's Chris Guldan struck out nine batters in a complete game loss, and did not hit or walk anyone. He surrendered six hits and five earned runs, but Mid-Buchanan benefited from three fielding errors and 10 stolen bases. A handful of passed balls also helped the Dragons get some extra bases.
"He's a very good pitcher," Elms said about Guldan's performance. "Very crafty. He throws it in, out. Changes speeds on you. We hit the ball hard. We put it in play, and that's what we had to do."
Mid-Buchanan is back home Thursday to face Lathrop (9-2) at 4:30 before hosting Class 3 contender Carrollton (12-2) on Friday at 4:30 as well.
LeBlond (3-9) is home to conference foe St. Pius X (11-2) on Thursday at 4:30.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.