Prep Baseball

Finding his rhythm: Ray mows down Blue Devils in crosstown rivalry game

Quincy High School catcher Luke Mettemeyer, left, reaches down to tag Quincy Notre Dame's Brexton Beard, who beat the throw and tage with a head-first slide to score the second of two runs on Peyton Stegeman's fourth-inning single. The Raiders took the lead on Stegeman's hit and beat the Blue Devils 7-2 on Monday night at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 14, 2019 1:30 am Updated: May. 14, 2019 1:40 am

QUINCY -- Aware he was nearing the pitch count limit as he trotted to the mound for the seventh inning Monday, Quincy Notre Dame right-hander Tommy Ray knew he needed an efficient inning.

"I told (QND coach Ryan Oden) to let me go to 100 pitches," Ray said. "He told me to have a three-pitch inning."

That didn't happen, and Ray was lifted with two outs after 102 pitches. Dylan Foley struck out the final batter, putting the finishing touches on the Raiders' 7-2 victory over crosstown rival Quincy High School at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield.

Ray was disappointed he didn't finish the game. He wasn't happy with how he started, either.

"Oh, well," Ray said. "It was a good team win. That's all you can ask for."

Nearly everything else was flawless. Ray retired the final 12 Blue Devils he faced and struck out 12 across 6 2/3 innings.

His first inning was rough. After getting a groundout to start the game, four straight Blue Devils reached base as Trevor Wiemelt, Cole Parkhill and Noah Harbin all had singles.

Harbin's single scored Wiemelt for a 1-0 lead. QHS had the bases loaded with one out, but Ray got out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts.

"We had a chance in that first inning to really put the pressure on them," QHS coach Brandon Crisp said. "Who knows how great that would have been if we had three or four runs in that inning and ran with it."

The Blue Devils (7-19) doubled their lead when Harbin hit another RBI single with two outs in the top of the third.

It was the final hit for QHS. The Blue Devils finished with five as Harbin and Parkhill each had two.

"(Ray's) just going to find a way to get it done," Oden said. "In the beginning he missed a couple locations, but he just settled down."

QHS had no answer.

"Once (Ray) settles in, it becomes problematic," Crisp said. "That's what happened tonight."

That allowed QND's offense to catch up.

QND (23-3) collected its first hit off Wiemelt on Ben Whittaker's single with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Ray walked to put two runners on, and after a strikeout, Brexton Beard singled through the left side of the infield to tie the game at 2. Two batters later, Peyton Stegeman ripped a single to right to score Ray and Beard for a 4-2 advantage.

The first five hitters for QND reached in the fifth inning, and Whittaker drove in Alex Mast with a single into left field. Beard drove in Nick Schwartz on an infield single that threw off the Blue Devils' defensive rotation.

Whittaker, who was on second base when the at-bat began, noticed the confusion defensively and never stopped at third, scoring when the throw went to first base to extend the lead to 7-2.

The Raiders finished with eight hits as Beard, Foley and Whittaker had two apiece.

"We know our offense is capable of putting up a four- or five-spot in any given inning," Beard said. "We don't really press or anything. We just stick to what we know, and that's putting the ball in play."

Quincy Notre Dame 7, Quincy High School 2

QHS 101 000 0--2 5 1

QND 001 330 x--7 8 0

Wiemelt, Carpenter (5) and Mettemeyer; Ray, Foley (7) and Schwartz. WP--Ray. LP--Wiemelt. 2B--QHS 1 (Parkhill).