Girard 11-12 All-Stars starting pitcher Brendan Schmidt and Riverton starter Beau Gardner dominated the majority of their Kansas State Little League Tournament contest on Tuesday night.
Schmidt allowed no runs on two solitary Riverton hits, struck out 13 (including a phenomenal stretch) and Gardner allowed four runs on four hits, hurt by three Riverton errors in one inning and two big hits by Ethan Jahay during a 4-0 win for the defending state champions, Girard.
Down the third base line, Riverton coach Derek Johnson talked with his players about the crucial first strike and swinging at more low pitches if the umpire calls low pitches strikes. Girard coach Bob Hawkins encouraged the Girard hitters to be patient, to be quicker and to be aggressive, depending on which hitter and the situation.
Schmidt, already taller than seemingly every coach out there Tuesday, threw 64 pitches and at least 39 of them went for strikes with his 13 Ks. He walked none and he stayed ahead of the Riverton hitters nearly all game. In addition to his strikeout tally, he caught a pop-up and fielded safely two groundballs.
No. 20 (same number worn by Mike Schmidt) on a stretch from the second to the sixth where every out — 12 consecutive — was recorded by a strikeout. Third baseman Ty Norris came out charging and came up throwing on a squibbler to end the first and made a lunging grab just in foul territory for the first out of the sixth. Schmidt fanned 10 of the 11 Riverton players, including all nine starters, and finished the game with a strikeout.
Meanwhile, Girard scored two in the first and two in the fifth, taking advantage of Riverton mistakes with some timely hitting.
Braven Born and Ty Norris, the first two batters in the Girard lineup, reached on consecutive middle infield errors to start the game. With Born on third, Norris stole second and then No. 3 hitter Jahay delivered his first run-producing hit, scoring Born and Norris with a single just past Gardner.
In the fifth, Born reached on an infield single and with two outs, Jahay found a Gardner pitch in the zone and blasted a two-run shot to left-center. Jahay collected all four Girard RBI and two of its four hits, more than enough support for Schmidt.
Girard faces the Frontenac-Baxter Springs winner Thursday night in the double-elimination tournament which concludes Saturday.
Kansas State Little League Tournament
Girard 11-12 All-Stars 4, Riverton 0
RIV 000 000 — 0 2 4
GIR 200 02X — 4 4 0
Beau Gardner and Blake Hulsey, Landon Abbott (4). Brendan Schmidt and Connor Dillon. WP: Schmidt. LP: Gardner. HR: Ethan Jahay. SB: Ty Norris. HBP: Jahay. LOB: RIV 2, GIR 3.