By ZACHARY GROVER BREWER
Conway Christian School is serious about baseball.
The Eagles, who have played twice as many games as most teams in the state, collected in their talons like arrows of American iconography their 18th win versus St. Joseph on Thursday.
Conway Christian led the entire way and nested with 7-2 victory saved by Andrew Dather’s wiles versus the increasing regimen of the Bulldogs, who yielded only two runs despite having nine baserunners totaling 21 bases in the final three innings.
"When you’ve got a group as good as we’ve got, you schedule as many games as you can," Conway Christian Head Coach Shane Davis said. "We want to be ready to go to postseason. We scheduled to that."
Chandler Ferrand, the winner, was dominant for four innings at Curtis Walker Park. He struck out five and allowed just two baserunners. St. Joseph dropped to 8-3 as starter Nash Nichols was touched for two runs right away.
"We’ve been getting five innings from (Ferrand) here lately," Shane Davis said. "Andrew’s been doing a good job closing it out."
Jacob Callaway led off a crisp afternoon of hitting for the Eagles with a walk before scoring on Tamer Stevenson’s groundout to shortstop for a 1-0 lead. Dather drove in Brandon Helms, who walked, with a sharp single to left.
Ferrand made it look easy in the first by retiring St. Joseph in order. In the second, the Bulldogs put Andrew Kordsmeier and Dylan Schrekenhofer on second and third with one out, but Ferrand retired the next nine batters.
Urged on by St. Joseph’s threat in the second, Conway Christian tacked on three in the third for a 5-0 lead. Callaway scored on an error, and Dather singled to drive in another pair.
Tyler Ratliff added a one-run sacrifice fly in the fifth and a one-run single in the seventh for the Eagles total margin in scoring.
"We only scored in (four innings), and in baseball, that usually isn’t enough," Shane Davis said. "We didn’t play as good as we are capable on offense."
St. Joseph drew within 5-2 in the fifth on a two-run error but left another pair of runners stranded. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the sixth, but Dather struck out the side.
Stevenson led Conway Christian with three hits. Taylor Schrekenhofer had two hits for St. Joseph. Cole Schichtl added a double.