Strong pitching, Butler’s grand slam lift Apollo-Ridge over Jeannette in Section 2-2A baseball

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022 | 8:18 PM


Apollo-Ridge took advantage of four Jeannette errors and got a grand slam from junior Brandon Butler and solid pitching from Brady Schrock in a 10-0 victory Tuesday in a Section 2-2A battle.

The Vikings, who have clinched a berth in the WPIAL playoffs, improved to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the section. The young Jayhawks, who are still in the playoff hunt, fell to 2-4 and 2-3. Apollo-Ridge also completed a two-game sweep of Jeannette, winning 8-3 on Monday.

Schrock allowed four singles while walking one and striking out six. He allowed singles by Tyler Horn and losing pitcher Michael Mason to open the first inning. But he got out of trouble when third baseman Nathan Kavulic snagged a one-hopper off the bat of Gavin Holemeyer and turned it into a double play.

Apollo-Ridge took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Brady Schrock singled in Karter Schrock, who reached on an error.

“We came out strong, but Brady (Schrock) can throw,” Apollo-Ridge coach Jason Mamros said. “He’s got a nasty curveball when he gets ahead in the count. They just couldn’t catch up to his fastball.”

Mason stranded Butler after a lead-off triple in the third inning, but three walks and an error set up Apollo-Ridge for a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Butler’s grand slam, his second home run of the season.

“We definitely needed this game,” Butler said. “We’re finally clicking together as a team. Getting on top early is what won us the game. Baseball is 90% mental, and we were able to get into their heads.

“Just stayed calm and went straight back and straight through. I work hard to produce like that.”

Apollo-Ridge put the game away in the fifth inning on four consecutive hits, including an RBI double by Kavulic.

“We got clutch hitting,” Mamros said. “Brandon’s home run was a blast. It was a big hit. … It gave us a nice little cushion.”

But the errors just gave Apollo-Ridge too many extra chances.

“With a young group of players, fielding the ball is going to be an issue,” Jeannette coach Marcus Clarkson said. “We have to learn to be better. These guys are working hard, but we didn’t field well today or Monday.

“Growing pains are hard. We’ll be back at it tomorrow. We’ll learn, and sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”

Jeannette hosts Shady Side Academy on Wednesday.

Apollo-Ridge still has a big series with Shady Side Academy on May 2 and 3 as it tries to finish second in the section.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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