Oakville earns solid win against Francis Howell, looks to Eureka

Pictured above: Oakville’s Hunter Iffland slides home safely as Mehlville catcher Carmen Fuller awaits the throw from his defense in a March 2017 game. Photo by Bill Milligan.

By Stephen Glover
For the Call

Oakville Tigers baseball broke a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at home against Francis Howell last week, behind a solid eight-inning performance by starting pitcher James Whitman.

The win for Oakville (5-8) inches the Tigers one step closer to the .500 mark, and it happened against a Francis Howell club that’s currently 6-6.

“Francis Howell has a tremendous program, so any time you can get a win against a quality opponent, it’s a big deal,” Oakville head coach Rich Sturm said. “We’ve played 13 games and we’ve only played one game where we were not competitive, and that was the Vianney game. That was the only game where I felt we really were not in the game.”

Whitman (1-1, 3.20 ERA) gave up just one run on five hits while walking three and retiring three by strikeout. The junior starting pitcher was also on fire at the plate as he went 3-4 with two RBIs. Currently he’s batting .314 with 10 RBIs.

“James’ performance was just outstanding,” Sturm said. “He drives in both runs, and he’s just a tremendous athlete and probably one of the best athletes in our school in my opinion. It was just a great team win for us.”

The Tigers are back in action this Thursday, April 11, as they travel to Eureka (6-4) for a conference showdown with the Wildcats.

“Eureka is one of the programs year in and year out that always has a solid pitching staff with kids that can throw hard,” Sturm said.

“They usually play good team defense and they’re strong up the middle. Year in and year out they’re well rounded no matter who they’ve graduated. We’re going to have to figure out a way to scratch some runs out against whomever they pitch against us.”

Oakville’s game at Eureka is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.