SENECA — Streator junior pitcher Jacob Bemont took full advantage of his first start of the season on the mound and thoroughly impressed in the process.
The burly right-hander allowed Seneca only one run on two hits, walked a pair and struck out four as he led the Bulldogs to a comfortable 8-1 Interstate Eight Conference victory Friday afternoon here at Seneca High School. Bemont allowed only five balls to leave the infield outside of the two hits while also recording 11 groundball outs.
He got some fine offensive support, as Streator pounded out 12 hits including three-hit efforts from both Daniel Gonzalez (home run, three RBIs) and Joey Byers (two doubles). Lucas Sharisky chipped in with two hits (triple, double, two RBIs) as the Bulldogs (4-5, 2-2) won their second league contest in as many days with Bemont in total control on the hill.
“Jacob’s worked a lot of innings out of the bullpen this year so far, but this was his first start and I thought he did an excellent job,” said Streator first-year skipper Beau Albert. “He got ahead of the hitters early and was in total command for almost all of the game. He just had a great outing, and I thought we also gave him some great run support with some excellent hitting.”
Seneca (2-3, 1-2) could muster a mere double off the bat of Ashton Harty and a single from Brendan Newkirk. Harty (0-1) also suffered the pitching loss, allowing seven runs and 10 hits while walking three and striking out one, while freshman hurler Cole Underhill (1 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 2 K) threw well in relief.
“Their pitcher (Bemont) and the left side of their infield did a great job today, and they got on us early,” said veteran Seneca coach Kirk Houchin. “I thought we could have folded after the bad start, but instead we hung in there. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively today, so credit their pitcher for that.”
Streator got on the board in the top of the first against Harty. Byers led off with a double to center and Sharisky walked. John Benckendorf then laid down a bunt that was thrown into right field. Byers scored on the error, and then Gonzalez stroked an RBI single to center that scored Sharisky as the Bulldogs led 2-0 after a half an inning.
They’d tack on two more in the second. With two out and nobody on, Byers singled to right and quickly scored after Sharisky’s booming triple off the fence in right field. Benckendorf lined a double down the line in left that plated Sharisky, and Streator was up 4-0.
Three more runs would follow for the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth. Byers led off with a double to right-center and scored after Sharisky’s booming double to left-center.
One out later, Gonzalez blasted a two-run homer over the fence in right to make the score 7-0. It was his second home run of the season.
“Going into the at-bat I was seeing the ball well, and I wanted to hit the first strike I saw,” Gonzalez said. “It was great, and I knew it was going out. I was happy I could help Bemo (Bemont) get his first win of the year.”
The Irish would score their only run off Bemont in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Myles Mitchell walked and went to third after Harty doubled to left for the first hit off Bemont. Mitchell then plated on an RBI groundout from Brody Baudino that made the score 7-1.
Streator would add the lone tally off of Underhill in the top of the seventh after a sacrifice fly from Mitch Vickers. Bemont then closed things out, facing four batters in the bottom of the seventh.
“I felt good out there, and John (Benckendorf) called a real nice game catching for me today,” Bemont said. “I didn’t have a lot of strikeouts, but overall I was happy with my performance.”
After the game with Streator, Seneca played a rescheduled contest with Beecher which the Irish won 15-4 in five innings.
Sophomore Avery Othon (1-0) got the complete-game pitching win, while freshman Gage Cryder (double, two RBIs), senior Dylan Leasure (single, two RBIs) and senior Uriah Tobolsky (double) all contributed to the bounceback victory.