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The first three innings between Ramsey and Beecher City on Tuesday night were fairly competitive.
The final two, however, saw the fifth-seeded Eagles score 10 times on their way to a 14-4 win against No. 4 Ramsey at the Egyptian-Illini Conference Tournament at Vandalia High School.
Ramsey’s Tyler Pryor was 2-for-2, with a triple and two runs at the plate, and also started for the Rams, striking out six.
Two of those strikeouts came with no outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.
“That was key,” said first-year coach Tony Kreke. “Pitchers need to come out and throw strikes. When faced with adversity, that’s when true character comes out.”
Beecher City was able to score three runs following the strikeouts, but those outs did prevent the inning from being more damaging than it was.
The Rams earned back two of those runs in the bottom half, getting a leadoff bloop single from Tylor Knisley, who made it to third on pitching miscues during the next two at-bats, and RBI singles from Ryan Black and Austin Cunningham.
“I will say that this team has made some improvement batting-wise,” Kreke said.
The Eagles added a fourth run in the third on a sacrifice fly, but Pryor rifled a triple to right to open the bottom half of the inning, and he scored on another single by Cunningham.
Knisley had an RBI double in the fourth to bring home Waylon Davis, but by that point, Beecher City was leading, 9-4.
The Eagles added five more runs in the fifth inning, and Ramsey was unable to turn its threat into any runs in the bottom of the frame.
Pryor singled to open the inning, and advanced to second on a passed ball. Cunningham hit a towering double, but because it was so high, Pryor had to wait to see if a catch would be made and only advanced to third.
The next two Rams batters made outs to end the game, but Kreke said the team has improved a lot since the start of the season and will continue to do so before the spring season begins.
“The team works hard, and we busted our butts last night (at practice),” Kreke said. “This offseason, we will have a lot of work to do.”
The tournament continued on Wednesday, with Ramsey at Brownstown, and concludes on Thursday. Updates from the games will be posted at www.leaderunion.com throughout the week, and recaps will be included in next week’s paper.
LP: Pryor, 3 1/3 IP, six strikeouts
Offense: Cunningham, 3-for-3, 2B, RBI; Pryor, 2-for-2, 3B, 2 runs; Knisley, 3-for-3, 2B, RBI, run; Ryan Black, 1-for-3, RBI; Davis, run.