Ralston and Big Fifth Inning Push Sheldon to Victory

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Mike Ralston pitched Sheldon to victory on Monday | (Gary Haliski/MWL Photos)

Sheldon pitcher Mike Ralston keeps wowing those in attendance when he takes the hill. Pitching a two-hit shutout in the Irish’s 4-0 victory over Marist last week, Ralston saw himself record Sheldon’s fourth-straight shutout while surrendering just three hits in the process. Though it took awhile for the Irish offense to get going, they eventually hit their stride and cruised to an 8-0 win over the Thurston Colts.

Getting the start for the Colts was Kyle Watson, who was just as impressive as Ralston through the first four innings. That all changed, however, in the fifth.

Starting things off by way of a walk, Mitch Lewis saw himself advance all the way to third on a bunt for a base hit by Gaje McDaniel that resulted in an error and McDaniel at second. With runners on second and third and an out previously recorded in the inning, Ralston saw himself significantly contribute at the plate as well, helping out his own cause by launching a double that plated both Lewis and McDaniel while giving Sheldon a 2-0 edge. A subsequent walk to David Bellamy would set up Brett Nielsen‘s crushing blow.

Mike Ralston pitched Sheldon to victory on Monday | (Gary Haliski/MWL Photos)
Mike Ralston pitched Sheldon to victory on Monday | (Gary Haliski/MWL Photos)

With runners on first and second and two down, Nielsen gave Ralston a little more cushion by igniting Watson’s pitch for a three-run home run that gave the Irish a five run advantage. Their lead would continue to extend, too, as Connor Strahm single and Dylan Lewis followed Ralston’s shot with a double before being driven home by his brother, Mitch, on a two RBI single.

A 7-0 lead in his favor, Ralston was able to cruise through the final innings while Sheldon added another in the sixth to take the win by a score of 8-0. As impressive as Ralston’s efforts were on the hill on Monday, he was flirting with an accomplishment that would have made this game a historic moment for the program.

Surrendering no hits through the first four innings of play, Ralston couldn’t complete the no-no, as he saw Rocco Ferrari break it up with a single in the bottom of the fifth. Though Noah Thoreson laced a double that saw Ferrari attempting to score, a great relay by Cooper Stiles saw Ferrari out at home while keeping the shutout alive. Ralston surrendered just three hits, one walk, and tallied six strikeouts in a game against a Thurston team that had averaged 11.8 runs per game in their last six games.

Recording 12 hits in the contest, the Irish bats saw multi-hit efforts come off the bats of Strahm (3), Ralston (2), Bellamy (2), and D. Lewis (2).

The win propelled Sheldon into sole possession of first place in the OSAA Class 6A Southwest League while helping them notch their 19th win overall. They stand at 6-1 in league play and will have a chance to win the league title on Wednesday when they play host to Grant. First pitch is scheduled for 5pm.

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