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Since Abner Doubleday threw out the first pitch, baseball experts have held that the key to successful seasons are centered on good pitching and defense. And while most will still subscribe to that philosophy, St. Catharine College head coach Luther Bramblett sees another component that is fairly important.
“We have had solid pitching and have played good defense all season, but now we are starting to hit the ball,” said Bramblett. “We are executing on offense and doing the little things offensively that win ballgames.”
With just the pitching and defense on track, the Bat Pats still found themselves with an un-Bramblett like 8-9 record until recently. But since the offense has started to fire on all cylinders, Bramblett’s boys have reeled off 11 consecutive wins and now stand 8-0 in Mid-South Conference play.
“I think the biggest thing is that we are now getting a lot of at-bats,” added Bramblett. “With the bad weather early in the year we just weren’t seeing much pitching, and when we did it was against some very good competition. You never want to lose early, but we played a lot of close games against some good competition, and I think that has helped us.”
The competition got no easier last week, but the awakened offense led St. Catharine to a 9-0 record. Four of those victories came against conference opponent University of the Cumberlands. It marked the second consecutive sweep of a conference opponent this season. Since joining the Mid-South last season, St. Catharine had no series sweeps until last week.
The banner week began Monday when the Patriots spent an extra day in Pikeville to complete a four-game series that had been postponed the previous weekend. They made the most of their extended road trip by beating the Bears 14-3 and 9-2 in the twin bill. That completed the four game sweep in Pikeville and brought the Patriots home for the next seven games. Pikeville’s record fell to 2-12 overall.
That homestand began Tuesday with wins of 8-3 and 5-4 over Shawnee State (Ohio) who will join the Mid-South Conference next year. That was followed by the four wins over Cumberlands on Friday and Saturday and a victory against University of Cincinnati-Clermont on Sunday.
It wasn’t all done with a more potent offense, however, as the Patriots showed they could win a pitcher’s duel as well as they did in the series opener against Cumberlands, a team coached by former SCC skipper Brad Shelton. With Travis Adams, the all-time winningest pitcher in SCC history on the mound, the Patriots eked out a 2-1 win in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Adam Blair, a Marion County product, singled home the winning run.
The Patriots then won game two of that opening doubleheader on Friday 9-6. On Saturday they topped Cumberlands (10-12, 1-6) 12-2 in five innings in game one and 9-1 in game two. On Sunday they outhit UC-Clermont in a 15-9 decision.
But there is no rest for the Bat Pats as it was back to work yesterday (Tuesday) with a doubleheader against Asbury College. Then it is another conference series this weekend as Georgetown visits Edelen-Haydon Field for four games. Friday’s first game is at 1 p.m. and Saturday’s first pitch is at noon.
“It is another huge weekend for us,” concluded Bramblett. “We hope to keep playing good baseball and put a little more distance between us and them in the standings.”
Georgetown is 6-1 in the conference, one game behind the Patriots, and 11-14 overall.