Concordia Orioles take Class 2, District 16 championship for second straight year

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The Concordia Orioles baseball team emerged as Class 2, District 16 champions. The team includes: (front row, left to right) Tanner Crawford, Spencer White, T.J. Sparks, Cameron Cooper, Dante Stockwell, Jaren Adams; (back row) Assistant Coach Mark Hundley, Abram Frerking, Brayden McGinnis, Lane Mueller, Matt Gatewood, Cameron Kelly, Hunter Wilckens, Austin Droege, Peyton Moore and Head Coach Nate Beissenherz.
(Contributed image)

For the second time in as many seasons, the Concordia High School baseball team made it through the Class 2, District 16 tournament and into the sectional round of the state tournament. They did it by sending Crest Ridge High School home, 4-0, in the second round, and Lone Jack High School 4-3 in the championship match.

Monday, May 14 – Semifinal at West Platte High School
Crest Ridge 0
Orioles 4

As contentious as a typical conference or district game is, imagine the emotions running through the dugouts when these I-70 Conference foes meet – especially after the last matchup, a 2-1 Cougar victory that took eight innings to decide a victor.
As big as the moment was, freshman Austin Droege clearly wasn’t overmatched from the mound. Given the nod in what was likely the biggest game of his entire life, Droege pitched like a veteran — 6 and 1/3 innings, nine strikeouts, and zero hits allowed — although he walked six and plunked two Cougar batters. His squad gave him a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and that would prove to be enough as he and junior Matt Gatewood (2/3 inning, two strikeouts) combined for the no-hitter.
Senior Cam Cooper smacked a leadoff double to get the home half of the first inning underway, eventually coming around to score. No other runs were scored until the bottom of the fourth, when junior Cameron Kelly drove in senior Abram Frerking and sophomore Peyton Moore with a triple to make it a 3-0 game. Kelly would eventually score as well, bringing the score to its eventual resting place.
Crest Ridge finished out their season with a 14-7 (6-2) record.
Concordia moved on to 15-7 (4-2) with the victory.

Tuesday, May 15 — Championship at West Platte High School
Concordia 4
Lone Jack 3

The Concordia High School Orioles baseball team took on the Lone Jack High School Mules for the Class 2, District 16 championship. It took a big sixth inning, but ultimately, the Orioles prevailed, claiming the district championship for the second consecutive season.
Junior Matt Gatewood took the mound and didn’t disappoint, going 6 and 1/3  innings while striking out five. He allowed eight hits, but kept control of himself in only allowing one walk and one hit batsman. He allowed three earned runs, spaced out over three different innings. Sophomore Brayden McGinnis shut the door, allowing one hit but nothing more in 2/3 of an inning.
The Orioles got on the board first, as junior Lane Mueller scored after leading the inning off with a leadoff single. It wouldn’t last long, though, as Lone Jack would put a run up in the following half inning and again in the fifth.
After going ahead 2-1 in the fifth, Concordia would manufacture a game-deciding bounce-back inning of their own, collecting runs from Gatewood, McGinnis and freshman Austin Droege.
Try as they might, Lone Jack would score one run in the seventh inning and advance a runner all the way to third, but ultimately Concordia shut the door, pulling out the victory in dramatic fashion.
Droege went 2-2 with a pair of singles and a walk, while Gatewood, McGinnis, and Mueller collected the rest of the team’s hits - all singles.
One interesting tidbit: two of the state’s best pitchers toed the mound in this one, as Gatewood and fellow junior Hunter Ward battled it out. As if that weren’t enough of a storyline, the two young men are also good friends, creating quite a stage. As those in attendance would indicate, the matchup didn’t disappoint.
Concordia not only advanced to the sectional round matchup against Lincoln High School, but also advanced to a record of15-7 (6-2).
Lone Jack’s season ended with the loss. They finish with a 16-5 (5-2) record.

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