The Trinity Lutheran baseball team looked very much like the state’s No. 3-ranked team in Class A during the first four innings of Tuesday’s game against Henryville at Alf Snyder Field.
The Cougars received RBI hits from seniors Jacob Schult and Bobby Tabeling, and junior Jake Moore did his part on the mound by holding the Hornets to only a first-inning single, resulting in a 2-0 lead.
But Moore had trouble locating the strike zone in the fifth inning, and relievers Ross Kruse and Sam Crick continued to experience wildness the remainder of the game.
The trio combined for 14 walks and three hit batsmen and gave up eight hits. Those numbers were too much for the Trinity offense to overcome. The result was an 11-5 loss on senior night.
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Schult, Tabeling and their parents were introduced before the game.
“The weather definitely played a part in it,” Trinity coach Bob Tabeling said. “You’ve got to make some adjustments to get the ball over the plate if that’s what we need to do and let them hit it, but you just can’t continue to stand up there and walk players or hit players without making some type of adjustment.
“We just gave them too many free runners, and they’re too good of a hitting team anyway. They’re going to swing the bats. That was unfortunate with our pitching that’s been pretty steady.”
It rained throughout the game, and Tabeling said the pitchers experienced some difficulty gripping the ball.
“I think once that happens, you get it in your head, but you look at the other side, we didn’t get the walks,” he said. “That’s what we try to tell the kids that both teams are on the field, both teams are playing in the rain, both teams are pitching off the same mound with the same baseballs, so don’t let that become something that gets too deep in your head. Make an adjustment and come out of it.
“You could definitely see that our guys were tentative because those are usually guys that are all over the plate. They’re not walking players or hitting as many players like that.”
With one out in the bottom of the third, Moore was safe on an error and later scored on a hit by Schult.
In the fourth inning, Nick Mensendiek drew a walk, moved up on an error and scored on a single by Tabeling.
After the Hornets took a 7-2 lead in the top of the sixth, Chandler Reynolds singled in the bottom of the sixth, Jacob VonDielingen was safe on a fielder’s choice and Tabeling singled to score a run. Aden Jones grounded out to drive in another run.
Kruse singled in the seventh and came home on an infield out by Reynolds.
Schult had three hits and an RBI, while Tabeling had two hits and two RBI.
“We’ve been scoring runs,” coach Tabeling said. “You look at our losses, we’re losing 8-7, 7-6. Last night, we had a one-run game. Tonight, we scored five runs. We’re going to score runs. We’re going to be in the game. We’ve just got to keep plugging away at it.
“I’m pleased with our hitting approach with everything from the top of our lineup to the bottom of the lineup. Everybody can put the ball in play. That is a very positive part of our game.”
The Cougars (13-7) will travel to South Central on Thursday and have added three home games to their schedule — Friday against Austin and Saturday a doubleheader against Eastern (Pekin).