Saints baseball gets big conference win over CHS

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
SPLHS senior Aaron Kirby delivers a pitch during the Saints’ game against Concordia High School on Tuesday, April 16. The Saints marched home with an 8-7 victory.
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The Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints baseball team hit the field twice this past week, losing to a solid nonconference opponent in Bunceton High School on Monday and bouncing back victoriously against Concordia High School on Tuesday.
The Saints took the rest of the week off from playing games, but they will look to carry the momentum into the I-70 Conference Tournament.

Monday, April 15 — Non-conference — Saint Paul Lutheran HS
Bunceton 5
SPLHS 1

An encouraging start eventually fizzled away for the Saints in their nonconference matchup with the Bunceton High School Dragons, falling 5-1.
After a scoreless first inning, a leadoff base runner turned into a run in the second when junior Josiah Kunkel was hit by a pitch. He later advanced to third on an error and fielder’s choice, then scored on another error later in the inning. Despite runners reaching second and third base later in the inning, the Saints would only cash in on Kunkel, moving the score to 1-0 heading into the top of the third inning.
The Dragons responded in the top half of the third, driving in the equalizing run. They would get busy again in the next two innings, collecting another solo run in the fourth and three more in the fifth inning to move the tally to 5-1.
The bats couldn’t get going in the latter innings for the Saints, as only one Saint would reach scoring position. This coupled with the Dragon’s scoring barrage was too much for Saints to rebound from, as they would ultimately fall 5-1.
Seniors Micah Lemmons (1-4) and Aidin Muehler (1-3) were joined by juniors Jonathon Grass (1-2) and Josiah Kunkel (1-3) as the only Saints to collect hits in the contest.
The loss brings the Saints to 4-9 (3-4) with the loss.
Bunceton advanced to 6-1 with the victory.

Tuesday, April 16 — I-70 Conference — Concordia HS
SPLHS 8
Concordia 7

A big lead put the Saints down early, but runs throughout the middle of the game and a big seventh inning rally helped SPLHS get past the Concordia High School Orioles on Tuesday, 8-7.
Things started off shoddy for the Saints, as three Oriole runs in the first inning and two in the second inning left the Saints down 5-0. They would start chipping away with a run in the third inning when sophomore Nathan McKeage crossed home on a passed ball, but the Orioles would immediately put up two more runs in the bottom of the inning to move the tally to 7-1.
The fourth inning brought in another run when junior Aaron Kirby reached home on a passed ball, but they were unable to capitalize on the majority of their runners in the inning as two were tagged out on the base paths.
Two quick outs bleakened the fifth inning’s outlook, but the Saints caught a break when the Orioles walked five straight batters, resulting in freshman Andrew Kueck and junior Luke Roepe scoring. The Saints would still be behind, but the deficit shrunk to 7-4.
A one-two-three sixth inning wasn’t what the Saints hoped for, but the seventh inning got off to a quick start for the Saints when two straight walks and an error plated Kueck. Roepe, who would walk in the at-bat following Kueck’s, and sophomore Justin Griffith would score on a two-out single by junior Avery Johnson. Junior Jonathon Grass — the go-ahead run — would move to second on the base hit and score the next at-bat when senior Aidin Muehler doubled to left field, leaving the score at 8-7 Saints when the third out was recorded. The Saints would go on to put the O’s down in order and secure the victory.
The Saints’ patience at the plate paid dividends, walking 11 times in the affair. They only collected two hits: doubles from Muehler and Griffith, and a single from Johnson. Johnson drove in two runs with his seventh inning poke.
Kirby closed the game out from the mound with three perfect innings, collecting a trio of strikeouts along the way.
The Saints advanced to 5-9 (4-4) with a big conference win.
Concordia falls to 12-4 (7-1) with the loss.

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