Orioles plaster Crest Ridge to capture district crown
The Concordia Orioles are once again district champions in baseball, and they earned this one by rolling past a conference rival that had given them trouble throughout the 2017 season.
After tying 2-2 in a 14-inning marathon and losing 3-2 in the I-70 Conference Tournament semifinals, the Orioles cruised past the Crest Ridge Cougars 14-4 in the Class 2 District 16 title game on Tuesday, May 16, at the Concordia Sports Complex.
After Tate Bittiker worked around a leadoff walk in the top of the first inning to retire the side, the Orioles came sprinting out of the gates on offense. All nine hitters in the lineup reached safely before the first out was recorded in the bottom of the first.
Cameron Cooper, Brayden McGinnis and Abram Frerking had three straight hits to open the inning; Lane Mueller and Matt Gatewood each had two-run doubles in the frame; and Spencer Brown walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run for a 6-0 lead.
Crest Ridge got on the board with two runs in the top of the second and added their other two tallies in the top of the fourth to get back in the game, but Concordia closed strong.
Mueller led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit and scored on a knock from Gatewood. Bittiker drove in Gatewood with a bloop base hit into left field as part of a three-run inning that pushed the lead to 9-4.
Mueller kept it rolling by driving in McGinnis with a one-out single up the middle, and he and John Sparks both scored on another big double from Gatewood in the fifth to increase the lead to nine runs. Mueller would end the game in the sixth with a single to plate McGinnis and invoke the 10-run rule.
Mueller ended up a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, three runs scored and four runs batted in. Gatewood had three total hits, two runs and five RBIs. McGinnis finished with a pair of hits and three runs.
Bittiker earned the win by pitching all six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 10.
Concordia improves to 16-4-1 in the 2017 season. The Orioles move on to the Class 2 state sectionals, where they will travel to face Lincoln.