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Tigers face first-inning woes in 5-2 loss to strong Parkway West baseball club

May 18, 2005 - A rough first inning against a solid Park-way West baseball team was the difference maker for the Oakville Senior High baseball team as the Tigers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Longhorns.

"We really had a rough first inning," head coach Rich Sturm told the Call. "When you give a team that's 18-2 four runs in the first, you're going to be in a rough place. (Parkway pitcher Rob) Hell-mann was really in control of the game."

The Tigers (15-6, 6-2) received a solid performance on the mound from starting pitcher Andy Marks. The senior hurler threw five innings, allowing four runs on three hits. Marks also walked four and struck out seven in his third loss of the 2005 season. He's 6-3 overall with a 2.29 earned run average.

"Andy had some command issues in the first inning," Sturm said. "He really settled down and regained his composure. He did what he had to do to give us a chance to win."

The senior pitcher also drove in one of the Tigers' two runs.

Ryan Hercules made a relief appearance in the sixth, giving up one run on three hits with one walk in his fourth relief effort of the season. Hercules is 2-1 overall with an impressive 1.98 earned run average.

"Ryan actually came in and did an outstanding job," Sturm said. "He had to face the meat of their order and I was impressed with how he dominated them."

Junior designated hitter Chris Kaestner drove in the Tigers' other run. Kaestner is batting a stout .324 this season with eight runs batted in.

"Chris is such an outstanding kid," Sturm said. "He's got the football mentality and is such a hard worker with a bulldog mentality. We've won 11 of 14 games when he's been in the starting lineup."

The Tigers took on Mehlville in the District 3 tournament semifinal game on Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

"They (Mehlville) are an excellent contact hitting team," Sturm said. "They're solid with good team speed and have one of the best shortstops in the area. Mehlville is capable of beating you in many different ways."

The district championship game is at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Mehlville Senior High School.

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