Baseball: John Stark downs Lebanon thanks to Innerfield’s career day

  • John Stark’s Nate Innerfield slings a pitch. The senior allowed one hit and struck out 13 in seven innings to lead the Generals to a 3-1 victory over Lebanon. Brackett Lyons / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 4/25/2022 9:50:02 PM
Modified: 4/25/2022 9:48:37 PM

John Stark’s starting pitcher, Nate Innerfield, was at the plate. Innerfield had a no-hitter going into the fourth, but a costly error in the top of the first brought home a runner that Innerfield had put on base with an errant throw to the wrist. He now had a chance to make up for the early blunders. As Innerfield stepped into the box, Deltyn Williams took his lead from second base, inching ever closer to a tied ballgame. 

The pitch that came in was just what Innerfield had been waiting for – a fastball. The senior lined one to center and Williams took off for home. The throw was far too late and John Stark had finally tied things up. Two innings later Innerfield was at the plate again. Again his barrel found the ball square and the runner on second – this time Christopher Dustin – wheeled around the bases and slid across the dish. Innerfield’s hitting and lights-out day on the mound earned him and his team a hard-fought 3-1 win over Lebanon (2-2) to reach 5-0 on the season – tied for the best record in Division II.

“Nate can flat out dominate games,” said John Stark coach Dennis Pelletier. “When we’re playing these teams that are pretty good he gives us a great chance. Every game when he’s pitching we feel is our game. The confidence that he has the team has that confidence too when he’s pitching.”

Innerfield went the distance on the mound with only one hit allowed and 13 strikeouts, along with two doubles, 2 RBI and one run scored. 

“That’s the hardest I’ve probably ever seen him throw,” said Pelletier. “And he had two key hits for us as well. So he had the whole kit and caboodle for us today.”

Beyond Innerfield’s stand-out performance Pelletier had some criticism for his team’s hitting. 

“For what I know they can do, this was definitely subpar,” said Pelletier. “After the five-spot in the order we didn’t really have many good at-bats. So that was a little disappointing. We had better at-bats last game against Pembroke. But you know it is what it is.”

Because of the lineup struggles, John Stark had to go small-ball to get the lead in the sixth. After Dustin walked, Brandon Firman plunked a bunt to the pitcher to get Dustin over to second. Then Innerfield took care of the rest. It was the kind of baseball that can help a team eke out a win when it really matters. 

“We’ve got to do what's best for the team. And in that situation, it was tempting for me when Brandon got the sacrifice bunt to let him hit because he's actually swinging the bat pretty well. But I had that much confidence in Nate and it worked out,” said Pelletier. 

The Generals don't get any time to enjoy their win. John Stark faces 4-2 Coe-Brown Tuesday. 

“They’ve got a bunch of really good hitters, they got a great offense,” said Pelletier. “We know they’re gonna hit I mean that’s Coe-Brown. But most their games seem to be high-scoring both ways so we’ll see how that goes. But I feel good playing again tomorrow.”








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