For The Tribune
Jacob Schult did it all for the Trinity Lutheran baseball team Wednesday afternoon in the Cougars’ sectional opener at West Washington.
The senior left-hander pitched six innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight, walking none, and giving up only four singles.
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Defensively, he caught three popups and fielded two ground balls and threw runners out at first base.
As a base runner, he led off the fourth inning with a walk.
Orleans pitcher Chase Hall tried to pick Schult off first base but made a bad throw, and Schult raced to second.
He then advanced to third on Sam Crick’s infield out and scored on Chandler Reynolds’ double that turned out to be the only run in a 1-0 final.
Trinity coach Bob Tabeling said it was an excellent performance by his team.
“Schult was the main man on the mound for us all year long,” Tabeling said. “He continued to throw well and Sam (Crick) did what he has been doing for us and that’s come in and save the game, throwing strikes and making them put the ball in play.”
Crick retired the first two at-bats in the top of the seventh before walking a batter.
The next hitter grounded out to Schult, who was playing shortstop, and he stepped on second base for the final out.
“That was a very good pitcher Orleans brought with them,” Tabeling said of Hall’s performance of giving up three hits, walking three and striking out four. “We had seen him earlier in the season. We knew he was going to go out there and compete with us.
“Their defense was very solid. We heard them talking about just needing one run on their side, and we felt the same way, so I know they had confidence in their pitcher.”
Ross Kruse singled with one out in the bottom of the first, but he was left at first base when the next two batters made outs.
Besides Reynolds’ double, the only other hit the Cougars had was a single by Aden Jones in the fifth inning.
Orleans’ most serious threat came in the sixth inning when the leadoff batter reached first on an error, and with two outs, Matt Holdcroft singled.
However, Schult settled down and struck out the next batter.
“We had confidence in our staff,” Tabeling said. “Jacob was throwing well today. (Kruse) was ready to come in and Jacob Moore was ready to come in for situational pitching, and that’s what we’ve been talking about since the sectional started — they could be used at any time and they were ready. Jacob carried through that inning and Sam came in and got the save.
“It was enjoyable to watch, to see them play, to see them compete through the whole game and we were fortunate to come out with a positive outcome.”
The Cougars (17-7) advance to the championship game at 6 p.m. Monday and will face the winner of Wednesday’s second game between Crothersville and West Washington.
The Cougars defeated Crothersville early in the season, but did not get a chance to play the Senators as that game was cancelled because WW had to make up a conference game on the day it was scheduled.
Trinity’s last sectional title came in 2013.