Saints rally past Sweet Springs at I-70 tourney
Before dropping their semifinal matchup in the I-70 Conference, the Saint Paul Saints put together a stunning rally to avoid a first-round upset at the hands of the Sweet Springs Greyhounds with a 6-5 win on Monday, April 24 at the Concordia Sports Complex.
Nick Ortzian led off the game for the sixth-seeded Greyhounds with a double and moved to third after back-to-back walks. An error by the Saints’ third baseman allowed Ortzian to score the game’s first run.
Sweet Springs got two more runs its next time up. Levi Miller walked with one out and stole both second and third before scoring on a single by Ortzian. Ortzian added a stolen base and another run scored on an RBI single by Hunter Sims.
Ortzian was in the middle of the action in the third, as well. After Will Persell led off with a base hit and eventually scored, Ortzian came up with his third hit in as man at-bats to give the Hounds a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Saints’ rally started late after struggling to solve starter Zach Giffen for the first 5 innings. Ryan Kollbaum led off the sixth with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored after Brett Mueller reached on an error at third base.
Mueller moved into scoring position on another wild pitch the very next at-bat and scored on a line drive single to center field by Evan Johnson. Johnson capped the 3-run inning by scoring on a 2-out double by Josiah Kunkel.
After shutting the Greyhounds down in the top of the seventh and final frame, Kollbaum drew a one-out to start Saint Paul off in the bottom half. Micah Lemmons smacked a triple to deep center that drove in one run and scoring the tying tally on a Mueller single up the middle.
Mueller moved to third base on another base hit by Johnson and scored the game-winner when Aaron Kirby reached safely on a throwing error by the third baseman.
Johnson, Lemmons and Lark had 2 hits each to lead the Saints. Mueller was the winning pitcher in relief, going 1 1/3 perfect innings and striking out 2.
Saint Paul fell in the semifinals 10-2 to eventual tournament champion Lone Jack. The Saints are now 10-4 after the tourney concluded. A trip to Sacred Heart and a home date with Richmond are on the docket in the coming week.