FREDERICKTOWN – Jordan Rellergert delivered a huge season opener both on the mound and at the plate for the St. Vincent baseball team in a battle of proven aces.
Leadoff batter Noah Niswonger also provided two loud and productive hits on Monday as the Indians pulled away from Fredericktown late for a 5-1 victory.
The Blackcats limited the number of pitches for senior right-hander Brennan White, who was pulled after hitting the first batter of the fifth inning in a tie game.
First base was open with two outs, but reliever Jake Sullens challenged Rellergert with a 2-0 delivery that was driven into right-center field for an RBI single and 2-1 lead.
Niswonger capped his day with a solo home run over the inviting left-field wall in the seventh, and Rellergert highlighted a 4-for-4 performance with a subsequent two-run blast.
Fredericktown managed only four hits overall, including two along the infield against Rellergert, who compiled 12 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
He retired the first eight batters of the game in dominant fashion, overmatching six in a row on called and swinging strikes, and finished with two walks.
White was greeted by three hits in the opening frame, but limited the damage after Niswonger ripped a double on the game’s first pitch and Jordan Buchheit singled to put St. Vincent ahead 1-0.
The Blackcats produced their lone sustained threat against Rellergert in the fourth. White squared the contest at 1-1 by lashing a head-high offering into right-center for an RBI double.
Matt Williams was called safe for a leadoff infield hit, and stole second base before eventually scoring. Left fielder Tyler Monier made a lunging catch to take a potential hit from ensuing batter Luke Korokis.
Fredericktown failed to advance Sullens following a leadoff walk in the fifth, and White was retired on a backhand stop by first baseman Blake Henneman after freshman Clark Penuel singled in the sixth.
Buchheit finished 2-for-4 and Tyler Unterreiner added a single and walk for the Indians. Joe Whistler relieved Rellergert in the seventh, and cleanly closed with a strikeout and ground ball.
White fanned four and issued no walks in defeat for Fredericktown, which fell 11-1 to St. Vincent in last year’s meeting.
Matt King is a sports reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at email@example.com