Outscoring visiting New Washington 23-4, Trinity Lutheran’s baseball team claimed a pair of wins Saturday at home.
The Cougars won the first game 10-0 in the fifth inning by run rule and the second game 13-4 after a slow start.
In the opener, Trinity was powered behind Kendall White’s two-hit, three-RBI performance and a strong outing from pitcher Jake VonDielingen.
White hit a two-run homer run in the bottom of the fifth and had an RBI single in the third.
VonDielingen pitched five innings for the Cougars, only giving up two hits and one walk behind seven strikeouts. He faced the minimum amount of batters in all but one inning and allowed only one Mustang to reach scoring position.
The Cougars’ scoring began in the second inning. With two outs, Sam Crick tallied an infield single on a hard-hit ball between first and second. After Chandler Reynolds drew a two-out walk, Aaron Bowers worked a full count before drilling a triple to left field, scoring Crick and Reynolds for a 2-0 lead.
Sam Marksberry then drew a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs. VonDielingen followed with a double to left to score Bowers, and Nick Mensendiek singled to bring in Marksberry. VonDielingen then was thrown out at home on a close call, but the Cougars had a 4-0 advantage.
Trinity was able to end the game in the fifth inning by scoring five runs. The effort began with a triple from Jake Moore with one out. White then belted a two-run home run to right field to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
Ross Kruse reached on a single and was moved to third on a bloop single from Reynolds, who was replaced by pinch runner Jacob Crockett. Kruse scored on a wild pitch, and Bowers drew a walk.
Marksberry then stepped to the plate and hit a walkoff double to right field, scoring Crockett and Bowers.
Cougars coach Matt VonDielingen said his son pitched well in the game.
“He was able to throw a lot of strikes, and the only time we really hurt was when we didn’t throw those strikes,” he said. “That’s kind of been our thing this year. We have good pitchers and good pitching depth, and so long as we are able to put the ball over the plate, we have a good defense to back us up, but sometimes, we can hurt ourselves.”
Coach VonDielingen said the offense also was a bright spot. The Cougars had six extra-base hits, which frequently put them in scoring position.
“We need that every game,” he said. “Sometimes, we score double digits, and other times, we score one run. We put a lot of work in to hit the ball like we’re capable of, and we have the ability to put 10 runs on the board. I believe that. We just have to do things consistently.”
In the second game, the Cougars gave up a run in each of the first three innings, but then the tide changed.
White was hit by a pitch, Crick singled and both advanced a base on a wild pitch. Bowers then singled, and White was tagged out, but the Cougars scored their first run on Marksberry’s single.
VonDielingen then batted Bowers and Marksberry in to tie the game, and Reynolds followed with an RBI single to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Mustangs had two reach base with no outs before White nabbed a fly ball and threw it back to second for a double play. A Trinity error, however, sent Clay Morgan to third base, and then a wild pitch allowed him to tie the game at 4.
The Cougars regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Moore tripled and then scored on White’s groundout. Crick singled and then scored on Marksberry’s hit.
After Moore struck out the side in the top of the sixth, the Cougars added some insurance.
Reynolds led off with a single and was replaced on the bags by Trent Shoemaker. Kruse reached second base on an error by the center fielder, moving Shoemaker to third, and Mensendiek walked to load the bases with no outs.
Moore drew a walk to score Shoemaker, and Crick plated Kruse on a groundout. Bowers then drew a walk, and Mensendiek scored on a wild pitch. Marksberry batted Moore in on a single.
Marksberry and Bowers scored on an error by the shortstop, sending VonDielingen to third. Shoemaker then doubled VonDielingen in to give the Cougars a 13-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Moore walked the leadoff batter but struck out the second. Marksberry then caught a popup at shortstop and threw the ball to first for a game-ending double play.
“I think after the first game being a 10-0 game, we kind of didn’t come out as focused as we needed to, and once we saw it was going to be a battle, we started paying more attention to detail and just put the bat on the ball,” coach VonDielingen said. “Once we did that, the runs started coming.”