May 15, 201206:28 AMBay Buzz
A Second Chance for St. Luke’s Baseball
Baseball season has yet again blessed us with its presence, and so far, its gods are shining their mercurial smile on the city of Mobile. The BayBears have begun their title defense with the best record in the Southern League, powered by tenacious pitching and some clutch performances at the plate. And that winning combination has caught on with at least one local high school team.
For the second time in two years of fielding a varsity program, the St. Luke’s baseball team played in the 1A state semifinals Friday. After a bitter, lingering loss that brought an end to last year’s run, the young Wildcats maintained the determination and maturity to make sure this year was different. The team, which has still never had a senior player on its roster, defeated Maplesville twice, 6-3 and 7-5, in front of a boisterous crowd at the brand new SLES ballpark, Mowry Field. St. Luke’s followed the same plan that got them past No. 1-ranked Brantley the week before: an anchor of strong pitching and a line-up that gets rolling faster than a runaway wagon. Much of the offensive production was led by centerfielder Justin Ware, as well as the team’s persistent pluckiness when batting with two strikes.
Both weeks, the boys from Mobile won the first two games of the best-of-three series to keep play limited to one day only. St. Luke’s covered the two 7-inning games against Maplesville using three young left-handers — sophomore starters Brandon Cook and Drew Dismukes, and junior Murphy Mostellar — who kept the Devils’ bats at bay. Mostellar was on the mound for the final out of the game, which came while Maplesville had the bases loaded. St. Luke’s shortstop Hunter Kirksey fielded a groundball on the edge of the outfield grass and spun a quick throw to second base. The runner was ruled safe before momentum carried him one step past the bag, and second baseman Dalton Becker had the wits to quickly apply the tag.
As soon as the umpire signaled the runner out, St. Luke’s hats and gloves shot into the air like fireworks, the dugout cleared and team members leapt into a dog pile behind the pitcher’s mound. Head coach Tim Becker, standing alongside assistant coaches Josh Eddington, Brooks Webb and John Knott, beamed with pride watching his players enjoy the thrilling, if awkwardly decided, victory. It wasn’t long, however, until the focus shifted to the Wildcats’ last remaining step toward achieving their goal. They will play the two-time defending champs, Shoals Christian, in the 1A AHSSA state championship Thursday in Montgomery.
Mobile Bay wishes the best of luck to the players and coaches of the St. Luke’s baseball team.