Trinity Lutheran took advantage of shaky fielding by Seymour to score unearned runs in the first, second and seventh innings to defeat the Owls 3-1 in the championship of the annual Seymour Invitational at a cold and windy American Legion Field on Saturday night.
“We thought our pitching would be good,” Cougars coach Bob Tabeling said. “We wanted to mix up different pitchers right now because of the (cold weather). We don’t want anybody going a whole game. We want people throwing 30-40 pitches, and it gives the other team a different look.
“You see a left-hander (Jacob Schult), you see a right-hander (Ross Kruse), you see a left-hander (Jake Moore), and you see a right-hander (Sam Crick). We mixed that in. We did a nice job of a) starting out ahead of the hitters, especially early, and b) mixing our speed.”
Schult pitched three innings, Kruse had two, and Moore and Crick threw one inning each.
They combined to allow only two hits while striking out seven and walking three.
Moore led off the game with a walk. He advanced to second and third when a pick off went past the first baseman, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Chandler Reynolds.
Jacob VonDielingen led off the second inning with a single. He stole second and third bases, and he scored when another pickoff throw was thrown past the third baseman.
The Cougars added a big insurance run in the seventh when Jacob Crockett led off with a walk. He then moved up on walk to Kruse, and scored from second base when Reynolds’ fly ball to left field hit off the Seymour outfielder’s glove.
The Owls avoided being shut out in the bottom of the seventh when Jorge Vega was hit by a pitch and was replaced by pinch-runner Michael Knecht.
Knecht advanced to second on an infield hit by Keenan Bohall, and he scored when Janzen Bloom’s fly ball was misplayed by the left fielder.
“We thought our defense would be good,” Tabeling said. “After the first couple innings of the first game we played some pretty good defense. We didn’t start out real well (trailing 9-3 against North Harrison), but we came back and scored some runs, and did a great job with that.
“I told the players our plate appearances were good. We weren’t chasing pitches out of the zone. We were making good contact and got some timely hits, and that’s always crucial. It was just a great day for Trinity baseball.”
Schult had a single and double, and VonDielingen hit a double and drew a walk.
“I really thought we built some confidence that (Clarksville) game, but for whatever reason that confidence didn’t carry over to tonight,” Owls coach Jeremy Richey said. “We just got shut down. All of their pitchers threw extremely well, and threw strikes and made us put the ball in play. The lefties did a nice job of holding us close, and didn’t give us a lot of what we got going earlier today.
“They had two lefties with some velocity and finished with a righty that threw with some velocity. That’s tough for any team and we just did not match that tonight and it just looked like it was a little more for their kids tonight than it was ours.”
Richey looks for his team to cut down on the mental errors moving on.
“We made some base-running mistakes,” Richey said. “That’s baseball and unfortunately it wasn’t one of our better nights. The good thing is its game two of the year and we’re going to bounce back from this and get better.”
The championship victory marked Trinity’s first-ever Owl Invitational title.
Owls, Cougars win first-round games
Both teams put up big offensive numbers in the first round to advance. The Owls pounded out 13 hits to whip Clarksville 13-0 in five innings, and the Cougars had 11 hits as they rallied from a 9-3 deficit to edge North Harrison 11-10 in eight innings.
Ryan Wieneke limited the Generals to three hits, and he struck out seven and walked one.
The Owls put this game out of reach with seven runs in the second inning with Luis Munoz hitting a bases-clearing double. The Owls sent 13 batters to the plate in the second inning.
Munoz had four RBI, Hirose had two hits and scored three runs, and Seth Maki had three hits, two runs and two RBI.
Trinity trailed 9-3 entering the top of the fifth when it scored two runs, then took a 10-9 lead with five runs in the top of the sixth before Harrison scored a run in the seventh to force extra innings.
Reynolds reached second base on a Harrison error in the top of the eighth, and later scored on an infield grounder by Nick Mensendiek.
Schult had three hits, scored two runs and had two RBI, Reynolds scored four times and had two hits and two RBI, and Crick and Mensendiek each had three RBI.
The Cougars had five doubles among their 11 hits.