Going into Friday’s game, Ben Martin’s pitching resume was anything but stellar.
One start. One loss.
The rosters distributed at the game didn’t list Martin, a freshman, who played with poise and led the Bruins to a 12-3 win against Hannibal at Rock Bridge Stadium.
Martin’s first outing came against Blue Springs South on April 17 in the championship of the Red Division of the Red and Blue Classic at Hillcrest High in Springfield. The Bruins lost 14-8.
“He pitched well,” Hannibal coach Clint Graham said. “For a freshman, he has good velocity and had a little split-finger pitch that he was keeping our batters off balance with. He’s going to be a handful in the years to come.”
In the first inning, things looked eerily similar to Martin’s previous performance. He walked the first batter and the second reached on an infield single.
Rock Bridge turned a 6-4-3 double play, though, which helped Martin gain confidence. He allowed one run in the first inning.
“I was a little shaken, but I came out today and thought about throwing strikes,” Martin said. “I did that and our defense took care of the rest. When you have a defense like that, it’s easy to throw strikes; it’s easy to pitch.”
Rock Bridge poured in seven runs in two innings
Martin also received plenty of run support. The Bruins (10-2) responded to Hannibal’s one-run first inning, scoring three in the first and four in the second.
Chase Patton had an RBI single in the first and second innings. Taylor Drennan added an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the second.
The Pirates (2-9) committed five errors during this span.
“If our first two guys get on base, me and Chase and (Scott) Dunwoody will knock them in usually,” Drennan said. “Our team is a great hitting team. If we’re not scoring runs, we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.”
The Bruins added three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth.
Rock Bridge sent eight players to the plate in four of the six innings.
Anthony Clervi replaced Ryan Concannon, who was sick, in right field and hit a two-run double in the sixth.
Andy Burks finished the game with two RBIs and Patton was 4-for-4 with a triple.
“(Patton’s) kind of our mainstay,” Rock Bridge coach Terry Whitney said. “Him and Scott and those guys right there 1 through 5, 1 through 6, have been doing a good job for us lately.”
Martin pitched six innings, striking out seven and walking one. He allowed six hits and three earned runs.
“(Whitney) gave me a second chance and I capitalized on it,” Martin said.