WATERLOO — If nothing else Saturday, Gibault High School senior Auggie Ward showed he may have a future as an escape artist.
Continually wriggling in and out of tight spots on the mound, Ward also provided a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth inning as the Hawks knocked off city rival Waterloo 4-2 before a large crowd.
Waterloo outhit Gibault 6-3, but also stranded 11 baserunners.
"A great win, I'll take it any day of the week," said Ward (2-1), who escaped from a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by striking out Christian Schmidt and Tyler Hebel. "I just hit my spots. Austin (Beccue) called a good game behind the plate, I think most of the credit goes to him."
Ward got out of a bases-loaded mess in the first, got a first-to-home double play to escape the third and then worked hard to hang another zero on the scoreboard in the fifth after the bases were loaded.
Ward's homer to left off Waterloo starter Jeremy Rettig tied it 2-2. The Hawks (9-5) pushed across two more runs in the fifth after a leadoff walk and a throwing error opened the door.
Mitch Meyer's RBI double made it 3-2 and Chase Dugan scored from third on a balk by Rettig.
Gibault freshman left-hander Tyler Brinkmann came on in relief in the sixth and closed out the win to earn his first save. He struck out the final two hitters in the seventh inning.
Rettig allowed only three hits in five innings and struck out eight and Waterloo outhit Gibault 6-3.
Gibault coach Andy Skaer was impressed by Ward's pitching and hitting. Ward had two homers and 17 RBIs in his first 13 games with a .415 average.
"We put Auggie in some tight spots defensively, some of it was our defensive doing and some of it was a little bit of his own doing," Skaer said. "They're a good team, they're going to put you in tight spots and make you make plays. He was able to wiggle out of a lot of jams.
"He's been facing some tough teams and he's responded really well. That's what we expect out of him as a senior and one of our top of the rotation-type guys."
Waterloo broke on top in the fourth on a two-out, two-run double by Brett Degener.
Those were the only runs for the Bulldogs (5-2-1) and coach Mark Vogel wasn't overly pleased with a lot of what he saw.
"I'm disappointed in our kids for not handling any part of the day well," Vogel said. "The crowd, the emotion ... I thought with 13 seniors -- and we've done a lot of mental training in the offseason -- it just shows today we've got a lot of work to do."
Ward's clutch hitting wasn't bad, either.
"Auggie came up there in a big spot down by two runs," Skaer said. "We expect him to drive in runs in tight spots and he got into a pitch and took it out of the yard."
In the Gibault fifth, Zach Neff reached on a leadoff walk. Chase Dugan's bunt was fielded by Rettig, who made a wild throw to second base.
Meyer's double to left and a balk provided the winning runs.
"Not to take anything away from Gibault, but we just didn't handle game situations well all day," Vogel said. "We had a lot of chances early in the game to put it away with some quality hitting and quality at-bats and we just didn't do it.
"It's good you find that stuff out early in the year so you can maybe get their attention a little better going forward."
Ward admitted there's a different feel to this season after Gibault returned most of the nucleus from a state championship club in 2013.
"There's a lot more pressure obviously and usually when we're facing a team, they're going to give us their ace or one of their better pitchers," he said. "We just have to really step it up."
CBC from St. Louis, coached by Valmeyer High graduate Mason Horne, got four home runs in the second game of the day to defeat Waterloo 9-1.
CBC also belted Gibault 12-1 on Saturday.