In their first three games of the season, the Oak Hall Eagles kept things relatively close. They won all three matchups by a combined margin of nine runs. On Friday night, however, they did not let up whatsoever. The Eagles flat-out manhandled the St. John Lutheran Saints in a 15-0 run-rule victory through four innings.
Once again, Jack Kuzmicki dominated both at the plate and on the mound. He knocked out 2-for-3 in the batter’s box, with both of his hits going for extra bases and driving in a total of two runs. Kuzmicki also got his second win of the season on Friday. He pitched 2.2 innings and only allowed one hit, three walks and zero runs. Seven of his eight recorded outs on the day came via strikeouts.
The Eagles also received contributions from all across the roster in Friday night’s win. The “Beach Boys” provided the offense with some fireworks as the evening progressed. Jackson Beach blasted out a pair of triples to drive in four runs on the day. Meanwhile, Harrison Beach tallied three walks on the day while also securing a triple of his own.
Turning back to the mound, Emory Ezzell took over for Kuzmicki midway through the third inning and finished the game off in style. In 1.1 innings pitched, Ezzell only surrendered a single walk, not allowing any hits or runs.
The Eagles Establish Themselves In Inning #1
The Eagles wasted no time in the first inning. After Harrison Beach landed on first via a walk, he managed to steal a pair of bases in the next at-bat. Kuzmicki then wasted no time in bringing him home, belting out a deep line drive into left field. Kuzmicki nearly made it home for yet another inside-the-park home run, but he ended up parking at third base instead.
Kuzmicki continues his hot start to the season! He blasts a triple deep into left field to bring Harrison Beach home. Eagles take an early 1-0 lead with one out in the first. pic.twitter.com/J2ssXXO26v
— Jack Meyer (@jackmeyerespn) March 3, 2023
Interestingly enough, Kuzmicki normally struggled against pitchers with slower arm speeds last season. Friday proved to be a different story, as he remained in control of nearly every plate appearance he made.
“Last year, I had… a little too much confidence in myself, swinging out of my shoes,” Kuzmicki said. “This year, I’ve kind of toned it back, really stayed with the fundamentals, and I just do what I do.”
Darion Medley brought Kuzmicki home in the ensuing at-bat; Medley then advanced to second on an error from the St. John infield. After stealing third, Medley scored himself via a sacrifice ground out from Troy Freeman.
As if their offensive firepower was not enough, the Eagles completely dominated the Saints defensively as well. Kuzmicki struck out the first two batters he faced with a combined total of seven pitches. Batter number three went down with ease on a quick ground out.
Blasting Off In The Second Inning
While Oak Hall played relatively well in the first inning, they took off running and never looked back in inning #2. After a hard-hit double from Jack Steen and a pop-fly single from Brody Beaupre, Jackson Beach reopened the floodgates with his first triple of the day. He scored on a passed ball just two pitches later.
Jackson Beach comes INCHES within his second homer on the year, but still manages to drive in two runs on a beautifully hit triple. Beach scored on a wild pitch in the following at-bat, giving Oak Hall a 6-0 lead with one out in the top of the second. pic.twitter.com/f0w8ANEDLu
— Jack Meyer (@jackmeyerespn) March 3, 2023
The Saints then walked Harrison Beach for the second time that day. Kuzmicki immediately brought him home with a deep double into center field. After Taylor Brown replaced Kuzmicki as a courtesy runner, he wound up scoring on an error from St. John’s catcher. Darion Medley, hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, scored as well following a line drive from Neil Ruth into right field.
After Steen was hit by a pitch in the next plate appearance, the Eagles proceeded to score on the next four consecutive plays. A single from Emory Ezzell scored Ruth. Brody Beaupre landed on first following another St. John error, bringing Steen home in the process. Another Jackson Beach triple drove in Ezzell and Beaupre.
Finally, Harrison Beach returned the favor with a triple of his own, allowing his brother to score as well. Oak Hall had jumped out to a 14-0 lead midway through the second. While the Eagles maintained their composure throughout the inning, they also managed to enjoy themselves as they lit up the scoreboard all evening long.
“We came out focused… and we found a way to have some fun too,” Jackson Beach said.
With a double-digit lead midway through the second inning, the Eagles did not need to do much else. Kuzmicki continued to rack up Ks on the mound, sitting down three batters in the second inning on strikes.
Oak Hall Goes On Cruise Control En Route To The W
As the game had already gotten quite out of hand, Eagles Head Coach Kevin Maris elected to give some of the team’s younger players some reps. Taylor Brown, Cameron Currier and Ha-Jun Lee all took to the batter’s box for the first time in the later innings of Friday’s game.
Brown and Currier had previously served as courtesy runners in previous games, but Lee’s appearance marked his first official game as an Oak Hall Eagle. The dugout rallied for him, as he later proclaimed that he had gotten “unbenched.”
Congratulations to Ha-Jun Lee on making his Oak Hall debut! pic.twitter.com/pkYHAnpyan
— Jack Meyer (@jackmeyerespn) March 4, 2023
“Everyone cheered for me, and I got a lot of energy from that,” Lee said.
Kuzmicki and Ezzell continued keeping the Saints in check on the mound. Eventually, in the fourth inning, the Eagles scored their fifteenth run on the day due to an error from St. John’s pitcher. After stealing a base for the first time in his career as an Eagle earlier in the inning, Beaupre went on to give Oak Hall the final run they needed to seal a mercy rule.
While Friday served as an all-around “feel good” game for the Eagles, they have a tough slate ahead of them. They will take on The Villages Charter Buffalo next Monday in what may be their most highly anticipated game of the season. The Eagles also have a rematch with St. John and their first game against the Saint Francis Catholic Wolves set for next week as well.
“We’ve been putting in our time, and they have earned a day off,” Maris said. “We’ll come in fresh on Monday, and we look forward to playing the Villages.”