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High School Baseball: St. Francis stays hot, beating St. Mary’s

Andrew Krawkowski, who threw a no-hitter in a win over Nichols on April 30, struck out all three batters he faced against St. Mary’s. (Photo by Mike Petro)
St. Francis got a little redemption while remaining the Monsignor Martin’s hottest team with a sixth straight win, beating St. Mary’s 6-2 on Tuesday (May 7).

Earlier this year, the Red Raiders fell to the Lancers 8-5, but this time, St. Francis was able to overcome an early deficit to improve to 6-5 overall this season and 4-3 in league play. St. Mary’s falls to 7-2 in league play, but remains in first place.

Ryan Stefaniak gave St. Francis the lead for good with a three-run triple to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, while Matt Minnick settled down after a rough first inning to throw six solid innings, allowing only three hits while striking out seven.

“I certainly think this is a turn-around victory for us,” St. Francis head coach Paul Bartell said. “St. Mary’s is a really quality team and even though they’ve been hot lately, I think they’re underrated and can hang with anybody in Western New York.”

Matthew Michalski finished 2 for 3 with a RBI at the plate, continuing his hot hitting, which he attributes to his hard work lately in batting practice. “I’ve been seeing the ball (at the plate) a lot better,” Michalski added.

Ryan Shriver, Adam Gora and Matthew Unger came in to score on the big hit in the fourth. Unger had singled to reach base. Shriver notched a RBI single in the fifth, scoring Thomas Mangan, and Andrew Krakowski added a run scoring double, plating Eric Brennan, which knocked Lucas Schaefer out of the game. Schaefer has been very effective on the mound throughout the season.

St. Mary’s jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in the first on a JD Andreessen RBI-double, scoring Brett Helmbrecht. Minnick also hit two batters and walked another in the first, but he settled down allowing only one more run before giving way to Krakowski who struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh.

Minnick said after the game that his teammates calmed him down with the way they were playing defense behind him and connecting effectively at the plate.

Bartell went on to say that his team made too many errors last time they faced St. Mary’s and players were able to correct those errors this time around. That loss was part of a five-game winless streak to start the year.

“Early on, we just weren’t putting a complete game together — no clutch hitting and a bunch of errors,” Bartell said. “What’s changed is we’ve almost done a 180, we’ve stopped making errors and we’ve come up with some timely hitting; it’s key plays in key situations that were starting to make.”

The Red Raiders have seven regular season games remaining, before trying for an eighth straight appearance in the Georgetown Cup final. “We have high expectations for ourselves and try to put ourselves in position to win every year,” Bartell noted.

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