Baseball: Foran defeats Law

Foran High’s T.J. Stuart was a stabilizing force out of the bullpen for the Lions when they crossed town to defeat Jonathan Law, 9-5, in an SCC baseball game on Monday.

Stuart, a hard-throwing right-hander, retired 11 of 13 batters (two reached on errors) after he entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out and a runner on second base.

“We took a good punch in the face there when they started coming back,” Foran coach Garrett Walker said of Law’s five-run rally from an 8-0 deficit. “I asked two outs of my little lefty (Cody Heniquin), and he came in and did exactly what we wanted to do, got the lefty-lefty out on his offspeed stuff. Couldn’t ask for more from him. T.J. coming in to close the door is a nice luxury right now.”

Bryan Firmender followed a J.T. Lanese single with a two-run home run to center field in the top of the first inning. Jonathan Lickteig singled with two out in the second, stole a base, and scored on Lanese’s RBI hit to right field for a 3-0 lead.

Foran starter Nick Hartley was cruising through the lineup, as he issued only a two out walk to Evan Fratello in the second inning.

Foran scored five runs on six hits and a walk off Law starter Evan Carollo in the third.

Bryan Wydra, James Mucciaccaro and David Payne singled with one out.

Bailey Wheeler greeted relief pitcher Nash Ericson with an RBI single before Lickteig reached on a hit off Ericson’s glove to make it 5-0.

That turned the batting order around and lead-off hitter Brett Huber lashed a double inside the first base bag to plate two more runs. Another run scored on a wild pitch.

Stuart was appreciative of his team’s performance.

“We had a lot of production from our bottom of our order, which was huge,” he said. “They set up the top of the order….“It’s electric. I’m just glad I could be there in a big spot for our team. Coach has confidence in our entire bullpen and I was fortunate to get the call today.”

Law accepted the challenge of facing the big deficit and rallied with two out in the bottom of the third.

Frank Mucciacciaro singled, Rob Griswold reached on an infield hit and Carollo (now at third base) doubled to left field to get the Lawmen on the scoreboard.

Jeremiah Bravo singled for two runs. Kyle Frey, who played a stellar first base, drew a walk, as did Fratello to load the bases.

Tom Marchitto brought in one run with an infield chopper and a second run scored on an error on the play.

That’s when Walker turned to Heniquin, who in turn gave the ball to Stuart to finish out the game.

“We are very alike teams, both teams 6-6, both teams built around solid defense and getting some timely hitting,” Walker said. “We were very fortunate today to swing the bats pretty well today and it held up.”

Law coach Greg Simler said, “I was proud of the guys in the third inning when we came up with a few runs with two outs and got the bats going a bit. I was wondering how long he (Walker) was going to wait until he went to Stuart and we didn’t have to wait too long. I knew it was coming.

“Tip your cap to Foran, they came out and swung the bats. That’s what you have to do."

Law relief pitcher’s Nate Merchant, Joe Prizio and Carl Maxwell held Foran to one run in the final four innings.

Brian Wydra opened the Foran sixth with a double and Wheeler knocked in the run with a single.