Pitching and defense have been synonymous with success in the game of baseball for many decades. And it was no different for Wilson on March 18, as Brady O’Keefe scattered seven hits over five and two-thirds innings and the Rams won 8-3 over Stadium.
“Brady competes every pitch, and he’s a real professional on the mound,” said Wilson head coach Doug Rupe.
The defense for Wilson was on display early. After the Tigers got runners on first and second with nobody out in the first inning, O’Keefe picked off leadoff hitter Mike Van Orden and would get out unscathed. The Rams got on the board in the bottom half when Jared Horner singled in O’Keefe for a 1-0 lead. Horner later singled to score O’Keefe again in the fourth inning to make it 4-0.
O’Keefe, who had been struggling with his control for most of the game, would run into trouble in the sixth inning. With two outs and the Tigers’ Brannon Ronia on third, catcher Matt Gunn drove a 1-0 breaking ball over the left field wall to cut the Wilson lead in half at 4-2. But Evan Stout came in from the bullpen to pitch the last portion of the game, allowing just one more run. The Rams, meanwhile, added four more runs in the bottom of the sixth as O’Keefe – who had moved to shortstop – singled in Nate Sandoval and Robbie Rhoads to make it 8-2.
“My control was a little off today, but I got control of my pitches in the middle innings,” said O’Keefe, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs.
Meanwhile, Rupe noted that sophomore second baseman Matt Stortini is already making an impact, and that he should continue to impress during his tenure at Wilson.
“I pattern my game after (Boston Red Sox second baseman) Dustin Pedroia,” Stortini said. “I like to get under the skin of our opponents all game long.”