St. John’s Josh Warnecke follows through on a pitch during MAC baseball action versus New Knoxville Tuesday at Stadium Park. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
St. John’s Josh Warnecke follows through on a pitch during MAC baseball action versus New Knoxville Tuesday at Stadium Park. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
DELPHOS — For the 2017 St. John’s baseball team, Tuesday afternoon’s Midwest Athletic Conference game versus New Knoxville was one they wish they could have every game. For the Rangers, it was one they’d rather forget in a hurry.

The Blue Jays won their eighth in a row to improve to 9-4 (3-0 MAC) with a 13-0 shellacking in five innings.

The Jays hit three home runs, a triple and three doubles. They also got a terrific pitching performance by senior Josh Warnecke — a 4-hit shutout with one walk and 11 strikeouts in a 72-pitch effort (51 strikes).

“We’ve taken a different approach at the plate lately and it’s starting to work; the guys are seeing the ball better and hitting it hard. I like how we’re swinging the bats now,” St. John’s head coach Jerry Jackson said. “Josh was pounding the strike zone and challenging the hitters to hit the ball, which we tell all our pitchers to do. We have our rotation set up now, with our top three (Warnecke, Eric Vogt and Jake Youngpeter) ready to go against MAC teams and our younger guys who are pitching against non-league teams. We gave up 30 runs in our first three games this spring; we’ve given up 32 in our last 10.”

New Knoxville head coach John Saylor was disappointed with his team.

“Our bus was late, it’s a long trip here and we simply weren’t ready to play today. There are no excuses; you have to find a way to get past the things that can make you lazy and make excuses,” Saylor said. “We played Coldwater and Parkway tough the last couple of games and then we lay an egg today. What hurts us is we don’t have that 80-85 mile-per-hour pitcher, so we have to throw strikes and keep the ball down. They hit some balls hard but some others were not so hard; sometimes, it’s not your day.”

The Jays got to New Knoxville side-arming right-hander Jake Blitch for four runs in the home second. Eric Vogt led off the inning by going yard over the left-field fence for a 1-0 lead. Buddy Jackson got aboard on an error but he was erased on a double-play ball by Devin Cairo. Warnecke blooped a single into right, followed by a 2-run blast to left by Aaron Reindel for a 3-0 edge. Jake Youngpeter was hit by a pitch and scored on Troy Elwer’s double down the right field line.

The hosts made it 12-0 in the home third. Seth Linder beat out an infield hit between first base and the pitcher, moved up on a balk, took third on Vogt’s ground single into left and scored ahead of Vogt (at second on a steal) on Jackson’s 2-run hit to center; the batter took second on the throw home and scored on Cairo’s triple to left center. Warnecke walked and advanced on a wild pitch. An out later both runners advanced on a Youngpeter groundout for an 8-0 edge. Elwer’s single to left plated Warnecke. Troy Schwinnen’s single to left set up Linder’s 3-run home run to left center for a 12-0 edge.

The Jays got their final tally in the fourth. Jackson doubled to deep center and scored on a single to left center by Cairo.

The Jays visit Bath on Wednesday.

***

NEW KNOXVILLE (0)

Ben Menke rf/p 3-0-0-0, Jared Osborne rf 0-0-0-0, Branden Puckett 3b 2-0-0-0, Jakob Rollins 3b 0-0-0-0, Nick Topp c 2-0-2-0, Nathan Tinnerman ss/p/rf 1-0-0-0, Corey Kuck dh 2-0-0-0, Jake Blitch p/ss/2b 0-0-0-0, Jonah Lageman 2b/ss 2-0-1-0, Ben Lammers lf 1-0-0-0, Jakob Osborne lf 1-0-0-0, Jack Bartholomew cf 2-0-1-0, Nathan Merges 1b 2-0-0-0. Totals 18-0-4-0.

ST. JOHN’S (13)

Troy Elwer cf 4-1-2-2, Troy Schwinnen lf 3-1-1-0, Seth Linder rf 3-2-2-3, Eric Vogt 3b 3-2-2-1, Buddy Jackson c 3-2-2-2, Devin Cairo dh 3-1-2-1, Collin Will ss 0-0-0-0, Josh Warnecke p 2-2-1-0, Aaron Reindel 2b 3-1-0-2, Jacob Youngpeter 1b 2-1-1-2. Totals 26-13-13-13.

Score by Innings:

New Knoxville 0 0 0 0 0 - 0

St. John’s 0 4 8 1 x - 13

E: Puckett, Warnecke. DP: New Knoxville 1. LOB: New Knoxville 4, St. John’s 3. 2B: Topp, Lageman, Elwer, Jackson, Youngpeter. 3B: Cairo. HR: Linder, Vogt, Reindel. SB: Bartholomew, Vogt. CS: Topp (by Jackson).

IP H R ER BB SO

NEW KNOXVILLE

Blitch (L) 2.1 8 9 9 1 1

Tinnerman 0.2 5 4 4 0 0

Menke 1.0 1 0 0 0 2

ST. JOHN’S

Warnecke (W, 2-1) 5.0 4 0 0 1 11

Tinnerman pitched to 2 batters in the 4th

WP: Blitch. HBP: Youngpeter (by Blitch). BB: Tinnerman, Warnecke. Pitches-Strikes: Blitch 49-23, Tinnerman 13-9, Menke 13-11; Warnecke 72-51.