Joe Shanks saw his eighth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond baseball team grow up right before his very eyes at Rogers Park Friday night.
After falling behind 8-3 to Hampton-Dumont after five, the Gaels rallied with a nine-run sixth to claim a wild 12-9 victory.
St. Edmond (9-4 overall, 4-3 in North Central Conference) overcame eight walked batters and five errors in all. Robert Flattery was 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI, while Hank Crimmins added two hits, including a three-run double in the sixth.
Sophomore Reid Johnson was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Michael Sharkey also drove in two. Eight Gael batters recorded a hit, while six drove in a run.
"To say I am proud of the way we battled back would be an understatement," Shanks said. "We're still a very young team, but these guys found something they can look back on and use down the road.
"And we weren't given anything (by the Bulldogs). We made contact, had big hits and moved runners. This win showed a lot of character."
ST. EDMOND 12, HAMPTON-DUMONT 9
Hampton-Dumont213 020 1 - 9 8 3
St. Edmond030 009 x - 12 13 5
Cole Miller (5+ IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 K, 3 BB), Bo Brass (L, 0-1, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 2 BB) and Bailey Miller; Jake Szalat (2+ IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 K, 6 BB), Ryan Szalat (W, 1-0, 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 2 BB) and Szalat, Colin Flattery (3). 2B - SE: Hank Crimmins, Logan Fear.
Ryan Szalat earned the win on the mound, pitching five innings of five-hit ball. He walked just two batters in relief of his brother, eighth-grader Jake Szalat, who was making his varsity debut.
"Ryan's been asking for the ball all year," Shanks said. "We're a little banged up right now in terms of healthy arms, but Ryan took the ball and went out and competed."
The Gaels knocked Hampton-Dumont (6-6, 2-5) starter Cole Miller out in the sixth after six straight batters reached base. Szalat helped his own cause with an RBI single, while Flattery drove in two.
Colin Flattery and Johnson were both walked with the bases loaded.
"We showed great patient in waiting for the right pitch to hit and finding the gaps," Shanks said. "Top-to-bottom, we had productive at-bats."
Logan Fear scored twice and Michael Sharkey drove in a pair of runs from his No. 9 slot in the lineup.
St. Edmond returns to action today, taking on Don Bosco and Iowa City Regina at the Dowling Classic in West Des Moines.