Derek Strate came up big at the dish and on the mound, leading Zeniths to a 13-0 win over Crowsnest High School last Thursday in the Crowsnest Pass.
Strate racked up five RBIs on three hits for Zeniths, he also tripled in the first inning and singled in the second and fifth innings.
Strate kept contact to a minimum, striking out 10 Crowsnest High School batters. The Zeniths’ pitcher tossed five innings of shutout ball and allowed only two hits.
Eight runs in the first three innings helped Zeniths blow out Crowsnest High School. A two-run triple by Strate, and an RBI single by Tate Stringam in the first inning fueled the Zeniths’ offense through the first of two games last week.
“Thursday’s games were a nice change for the boys,” said coach Jordan Brame. “They were up against a few very competitive players, which made for an exciting, and at time, intense couple of games.”
However the Crowsnest High School team wasn’t able to overcome their troubles with the Zeniths’ last week, as they fell 5 to 3 in the second game.
Despute scoring three runs in the fifth, based on an error, and a two-run triple the Pass still wasn’t able to catch up to the Zeniths’ commanding head-start.
“At this point in the season I am starting to feel very confident with our team’s abilities. Our pitchers continue to improve with their command, and our hitters are really starting to find ways to get on base and score,” Brame said of the progress made this season. “It was a great week for Derek Strate, he has been on a tear lately. He is so confident at the plate right now and he’s only been out three times in our last four games.”
Another player Brame has been quite impressed with, as of late, has been Jared Sabey. A Grade 12 student at MHS Sabey is playing for his first time this year, but continues to look better and better as the season goes on.
Crowsnest High school was never able to get over the hump and overcome its troubles against Zeniths on Tuesday, as Crowsnest High school fell 5-3 at Crowsnest Pass after falling behind by five runs in the fourth inning.
Crowsnest High school scored three runs in the fifth on an error and a two-run triple. Still, Crowsnest High school couldn’t catch Zeniths.
Tyson Bourne was in control on the mound. Crowsnest managed just two hits off of the Zeniths’, who allowed no earned runs, walked two and struck out five during his four innings.
However the Zeniths weren’t relinquishing their lead after scoring one run in the first inning and they continued to build on their lead with three runs in the second, before claiming both of the double-header games as a win.
“We just had a key player, Tyson Bourne, sprain his ankle. We are hoping to get him healthy by next Friday, but if not we have to find a way to fill his shoes. I am confident that we have players ready to step-in and step-up, but we are hoping that we can get him back so he is able to compete,” said Brame of the recently injured player.
This week the Zeniths finished off their last regular-season game against Willow Creek High School in a 17 to three win Tuesday evening, leaving the team undefeated before heading into zones come June.
With 15 runs in the first three innings, the Zeniths left no doubt in the eventual outcome.
An error, an RBI double by Tyson Gruninger an RBI double by Strate and an error in the first inning supplied the early offense for Zeniths.
Matt Noad racked up three RBIs on four hits for Zeniths. He doubled in the first inning and singled in the second and third innings.
Strate however secured the win for Zeniths thanks to six strikeouts. Strate allowed no earned runs, three hits and one walk over three innings.
Zeniths tacked on another nine runs in the third. Noad singled, scoring Cole Berte to start the inning. They then added two more runs in the top of the fourth, and a passed ball scored Gruninger to get Zeniths on the board in that inning. Which was followed up by Parker Clifton’s single-plating Strate.
“We went out strong. It was a tough game to stay mentally focused but the boys did well,” Brame said of the last regular season game. “We saw some really good things from Cole Berte and Briggs Ascione. They were both able to get a hit in the game Tuesday night. I think it shows us a couple options that we have if Bourne isn’t able to get healthy in time. Cole came in and pitched an inning Tuesday night and did great.”
Noad also made Tuesday night’s game “look easy,” going for four and five, as well Strate had another “great night” when he went two for two.
“I think overall as a team, I look at an on-base percentage of .703 and that tells me that guys are finding a way to get on base and when you get on base, it makes it that much easier to score,” he said of the team. “I’m proud of these boys and the work they have put in. We are going to have to work hard to get it, but we set a goal at the beginning of the season to bring home a banner, and I think this is the group who can do it.”
Brame went on to say based on the tournament draw he’s been sent for zones it will by no means be a “cakewalk” for the team, as heading in undefeated makes the Zeniths the team “everyone is gunning for.”
“We are anticipating a rematch with Eagle Butte in the final. We beat them in a tournament earlier this month, so it will be interesting to see who shows up to play,” he said.
Currently the Zeniths sit at a record of nine wins, zero loses, with Kate Andrews trailing in second with four wins, four losses.