RUTHVEN - Co-Northwest Conference champs a season ago, the St. Mary's baseball team showed reason for optimism for an equally impressive showing in their debut Monday, limiting newly aligned Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire to one run on three hits in an 8-1 victory.
St. Mary's jumped out front in the first as Luke Lenhart walked his way on and advanced to third on a pair of passed balls, before scoring on a Kennedy Drey sac fly. They doubled their advantage in the second as Richardson doubled home Tyler Munden.
Richardson would drive in another run in the fifth, scoring Bobby Ivey on a bases loaded fielder's choice. Munden would score his second run in the fifth on a wild pitch.
After walking his way aboard, Austin Demers crossed home after an Ivey single and two wild pitches. A Lenhart double brought home Ivey, and Lenhart soon crossed home after a throwing error on the pickoff attempt at third sailed into left. Munden brought across the final run on a Richardson sac fly.
"We got off to a bit of a slow start in the first inning, but after we put that behind us, we played a pretty solid ball game," said St. Mary's head coach Ryan Berg. "We made some normal first game mistakes, but none of them hurt us too badly. We were aggressive on the basepaths, and tat helped us out greatly. I also thought we put some good at-bats together over the course of the game. We stayed patient and drew a lot of walks, and we also hit some balls hard when we got good pitches to hit, even if all of them didn't drop for hits."
Joe Sandhoff got the start and the win for the Panthers, scattering three hits in six innings of work. He struck out ten and walked just one. Connor Richardson tossed one scoreless inning of relief with three strikeouts.