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April 20, 2013

Lancers surge past Mitty

Despite a rocky start, No. 1 St. Francis scored 13 runs in the final three innings to defeat No. 17 Archbishop Mitty, 14-3. Senior Boston College commit Michael Strem had a solid performance both on the mound and at the dish to lead the Lancers.

"We were hitting the ball hard the whole game, just getting a little unlucky," said Strem. "Things started going our way in the fifth inning, attacking the fastballs early, and we scored runs."

St. Francis scored in the first inning when a fielder's choice from Utah commit Hunter Simmons scored Kort Peterson. The Monarchs answered in the bottom of the inning when a sac fly from senior Wyatt Hansen plated Luke Rasmussen.

The Monarchs went on to take control early. Hansen made a spectacular play by leaping over the outfield fence to rob a home run and an RBI single from Kyle Wright in the bottom of the second gave Mitty a 2-1 lead. Mitty added another run in the third behind an RBI knock from Rasmussen.

Rasmussen and Wright, the 1-2 hitters respectively, were a combined 5-for-6 with two RBIs and a walk.

But it was all St. Francis from there. The Lancers scored five runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead and never looked back. Strem had a two-run double while Tim Susnara had a two-run home run in the inning.

"I thought we did a great job of weathering their storm early," said St. Francis head coach Mike Oakland. "[Mitty] did a nice job of putting the baseball in play and finding some holes and we were catching some unfortunate breaks. A guy made probably the best catch I've ever seen live and we just kept sticking with the process. Eventually we wore them down to the point we were able to get some runs across the board and we did a great job."

The Lancers added two more runs in the sixth and six more in the seventh to finish the game. Peterson, a UCLA commit, finished 2-for-4 with a walk and a pair of RBIs while Strem was 3-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs.

On the mound, Strem tosssed six innings and surrendered three earned runs in addition to eight hits and two walks. The senior also fanned four hitters. He admitted it wasn't his best performance, but it was enough to earn the win.

"I definitely didn't have my best stuff," Strem added. "I had to rely on a couple other pitches, mainly my slider today. They were hitting my fastball and I couldn't get the curveball over. I worked hard, battled, got outs when I needed them."

"He's been solid for us all year," Oakland added of Strem. "He didn't have his best stuff, but he had enough. I thought offensively he was outstanding. I couldn't be more proud of him."

Senior righty Davis Messer threw four plus solid innings for Mitty, surrendering three earned runs, three hits, and five walks. He also used two double plays to help his cause, but it was only a matter of time until the Lancer offense broke it open.

With the loss, Mitty dropped to 14-8 with a 4-5 mark in West Catholic Athletic League play. The Monarchs will travel to San Francisco today to face Archbishop Riordan.

The Lancers increased their win streak to nine games and improved to 21-1. They remain tied for first with an 8-1 record in WCAL play and will face Sacred Heart Cathedral at home today.

"We're just playing well right now," said Strem. "It is a tough league. We can't take any team lightly. We don't. We play to our full potential every game.

"All of these guys are great teammates and we have great team camaraderie. There's no one else I'd rather play with. We battle everyday and work so hard in practice to reach our goal."


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