Bentley and blasts carry Rams to baseball sweep
Longtime followers of the Pittsburgh Pirates would recognize Shepherd’s methods when the Rams took 4-2 and 17-5 verdicts against visiting Wheeling Jesuit on Sunday at Fairfax Field.
Decades ago, Pirate broadcaster Bob Prince would say to no one in particular after a Pittsburgh rally: “A bloop and a blast.” Prince would chortle away to his radio listeners after a little looping single over the infield and a two-run home run had scored two runs for the Buccos.
Shepherd stopped Wheeling Jesuit for the fourth straight time in two weekend days as first-game pitcher John Bentley won with a complete game five-hitter that featured six strikeouts and outstanding defensive plays by outfielder Ron Farley, first baseman Mike Brown and second baseman Brandon Kirk.
“Bentley and the blasts” became to motto of the bright and sunny afternoon when the Rams clubbed six home runs in the second-game rout of the Cardinals.
After Bentley had thrown strike after strike and saw his game finished on a slick double play turned by middle infielders Kirk and Tre Porter when Wheeling Jesuit had the bases loaded, the nightcap was a display of Shepherd brawn as Daniel Heleine hit two homers and JJ Sarty, Brown, Porter, and Farley had one each.
After doing much the same on Saturday when Sam Crater pitched his way to a 2-1 verdict and the Rams then collected 23 hits in the nightcap to whirl away to a 19-10 win, the same script was there on Sunday.
Bentley outpitched Joe San Fillipo, who allowed just eight hits to the Rams and fanned nine in his six innings . . . and then Shepherd mauled pitchers Logan Hudson, Justin Fritts, Logan Menear and Kyle Rees to produce a five-run inning as well as a four-run frame and a pair of three-run innings.
In scoring freely in the nightcap, the Rams had Porter with three hits and Brown also register three hits and eight total bases.
Following the quick four-game mastering of the Cardinals, Shepherd had a 23-9 overall record and was on top of the North Division of the Mountain East Conference with a 16-4 record.
Wheeling Jesuit was 9-11 in conference play and 10-22 overall.
“Bentley and the blasts” had been Shepherd’s theme for the Sunday sweep. And the Rams continued to move toward a berth in the conference tournament, which sees the top three finishers in each division go to Beckley for a double-elimination event that sends the conference champion to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional tournament, which is a part of the national tournament.