By Mark Ruschau
ROCKFORD -- The St. John's Blue Jays used a trio of three run innings and strong pitching by the combination of Adam Metzger and Jesse Kill to defeat the Parkway Panthers 9-4 Friday afternoon in Midwest Athletic Conference play at Don Black Field.
St. John's improves to 1-2 in league play and 4-9 overall. Parkway falls to 1-2 in the league and 6-9.
The top of the order was the key offenively for the Jays as hitters one through five combined for 10 hits in 20 trips to the plate.
They combined to score sven runs and drive in eight runs.
"The top of the order came through for us tonight and it was a matter of us stringing some hits together," said St. John's coach Dan Metzger. "We got runners on and we got the big hit. Coming in here we have been pressing at the plate and tonight we went up there, swung the bat and some fun. "The fast start tonight was huge for us,"continued Metzger. "The first inning got us going."
"Jake (Long) was throwing the ball over the plate and he trouble locating the ball inside," said Parkway coach Eric Stachler. "He got the ball up and got hit pretty hard."
The Jays jumped on Parkway starter Jacob Long for three runs in the first inning and they never looked back.
Brad Hanf and Clay Odenweller hit back-to-back doubles to start the game to make the score 1-0.
Lance Kehres' groundball was then booted by Parkway third baseman Tom Bradley for an error.
After a throwing error moved the runners up 90 feet, Dave Hayson blasted a double to left center to up the margin to 3-0.
St. John's doubled its lead as it added a trio of runs in the fifth.
Hanf, Odenweller and Kehres singled to load the bases.
A sacrifice fly by Kill made the score 4-0 and then Hayson again came up with the big hit in the frame as laced a two-run single to center to make the score 6-0.
St. John's scored its final three tallies in the sixth.
Metzger led off the inning with a single and scored as Pete Collins doubled to make the score 7-1.
Hanf and Odenweller singled to load the bases. Kehres by hit by a pitch to make the score 8-1.
The final run of the night came when Kill hit a gound ball to short.
Parkway shortstop Steve Hays fired home for the first out, when Parkway catcher Josh Crouch threw the ball to first to try and complete the double play, Odenweller scored from second base as the throw was late.
The Parkway offense was kept in check for the most part by Metzger and Kill. Metzger pitched five and a third innings allowing seven hits and four runs.
Kill allowed just one hit and struck out three in pitching an 12Ú3 of one hit shutout baseball.
"What can say about the pitching, Adam and Jesse both pitched well," said Metzger. "Good clubs like Parkway are going to hit the ball and today we were able to hit with them.'
"Offensively we are definitely struggling," said Stachler. "We brought some kids up from the jayvee team because something had to be done. Once again, we need hit the ball into the gaps or we are going to be in trouble."
Parkway returns to action today, traveling to Middle Point to take on Lincolnview in a doubleheader with the first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m.