Orioles baseball drops all three games
It took nearly the entire season for the Concordia High School Orioles to drop back-to-back games, but they did just that this week, falling by one run to both Leeton High School on Monday and Saint Paul Lutheran High School on Tuesday. They would also fall to Sweet Springs High School on Wednesday during the squad’s Kauffman Stadium exhibition game.
Despite the narrow losses, multiple Orioles are really hitting their strides as the team moves into their I-70 Conference Tournament and their final two weeks of regular season action. The Orioles are also expecting to be at full strength for the first time since their 13-3 victory over Wellington-Napoleon High School on April 3.
Monday, April 15 — Nonconference — Leeton HS
It took just one bad inning for the Orioles to get into a deep hole against Leeton High School, and they would spend the rest of the game digging their way out of the hole. Despite nearly completing the big comeback, the Orioles would ultimately fall 12-11.
Senior Lane Mueller singled with two outs in the top of the first inning, scoring junior Brayden McGinnis after a two-out single of his own the prior at-bat.
A quick half-inning for Leeton left the O’s with the early lead, but the second inning was brutal to the Oriole faithful, as eight runs would cross the plate behind five errors and just three hits. After watching the score run to 8-1 quickly, the O’s would start clawing back immediately behind a leadoff single from senior Matthew Gatewood and an error on McGinnis’s at-bat. Both players would score in the half-inning as the score moved to 8-3, but Leeton would tack on two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The fourth inning would be the only inning the Orioles wouldn’t score from here on out, as McGinnis’ leadoff double was followed by a home run from Mueller in the fifth.
Leeton would proceed to score two of their own, however, as the score advanced to 12-5.
Leadoff walks from freshman Jacob Nelson and sophomore Dante Stockwell in the sixth inning would materialize shortly afterwards when Gatewood, McGinnis, and Mueller strung singles together to help the O’s pick up three runs and narrow the lead to just 12-8.
After holding Leeton scoreless in the seventh, Concordia found themselves down to their final out after two in three at-bats to start the inning. Stockwell would hit into a fielder’s choice and Gatewood rewarded him by stroking a two-run homer. McGinnis and Mueller each followed with doubles (McGinnis would score on Mueller’s), but they would go to bed with the game-tying run on third base, falling 12-11 despite nearly bringing the comeback attempt full-circle.
Gatewood (3-5, double, home run, two RBIs), McGinnis (4-5, double, two RBIs) and Mueller (4-4, double, home run, six RBIs) stayed hot at the plate, collecting 11 of the team’s 13 hits between their 14 combined at-bats.
The Orioles fell to 12-2 (7-0) with the nonconference loss.
Leeton moved to 3-4 with the victory.
Tuesday, April 16 — I-70 Conference — Concordia HS
A big start fell by the wayside for the Orioles against Saint Paul Lutheran High School, allowing three runs — including the eventual game-winner — to cross the plate despite having the Saints down to their last out en route to the 8-7 loss.
Sophomore Dante Stockwell reached on an error in the bottom of the first inning and junior Brayden McGinnis and senior Lane Mueller reached via fielder’s choice. Each would eventually score behind a bases loaded walk by junior Hunter Wilckens and a single from freshman Jake Tagtmeyer, moving the score to 3-0.
A leadoff double from freshman Jacob Nelson got the second inning off right. Nelson was followed by a walk from Stockwell, and both would score in the inning to move the tally to 5-0.
The score would hold until the top of the third inning when the Saints put together their first run of the game. A one-out single from freshman Will Rehkop eventually turned into a run when senior Matthew Gatewood doubled him and Stockwell in, moving the score to 7-1 after the Saints tacked on a run in the top of the third.
As quickly as they got hot to start the game, the O’s would cool off drastically — both from the plate and on the defensive side of the spectrum.
A single SPLHS run in the fourth inning brought the tally to a comfortable 7-2 CHS advantage, but the fifth inning produced two more Saints runs while the Orioles went down in order, tightening the tally to 7-4.
A quick sixth inning for both teams brought the game to the seventh and final frame, but things were looking secure enough late in the inning after one run crossed and two outs were recorded. Needing just one out to secure victory, the Orioles couldn’t slam the door shut as they would surrender three errors, two singles, and one walk with two outs in the inning, allowing the go-ahead run to cross the plate as the Saints got their first lead of the game at just the right time.
Needing one run to stay alive, the Orioles would instead go down in order and the game would conclude with the Saints on top, 8-7.
Neither team was prolific offensively despite the score, but similarly to their counterparts in the other dugout, the majority of the Orioles hits were doubles. Gatewood (1-4, double, two RBIs), McGinnis (1-4, double, RBI), and (Nelson 1-3, double) each collected two bases on each player’s lone hit.
The bigger difference in the result can be traced to free passes: the Saints limited O’s hitters to just four walks, while SPLHS batters walked a whopping 11 times. Stockwell walked twice and was the only CHS hitter to reach base safely twice.
The Orioles fell to 12-3 (7-1) with the loss.
The Saints avenged their earlier loss (2-0, March 26) with a victory in this matchup, advancing to 5-9 (4-4) with the victory.
Wednesday, April 17 — Exhibition — Kauffman Stadium
Sweet Springs 6
Concordia 4 (4 inn.)
In what was essentially a four-inning exhibition contest, Concordia and familiar I-70 Conference foe Sweet Springs High School squared off from the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium. The game itself, however, wasn’t very friendly to the Orioles, as the Greyhounds’ big first inning was enough for them to hold on for the 6-4 victory over four innings.
A few big hits and a couple of rough defensive plays aided SSHS in picking up five first inning runs. Concordia put up three of their own when sophomore Dante Stockwell walked and senior Matthew Gatewood was joined by junior Brayden McGinnis in reaching via error. Stockwell would score on McGinnis’ at-bat, while good situational hitting by senior Lane Mueller and junior Hunter Wilckens drove in Gatewood and McGinnis, respectively.
Back-to-back one-two-three offensive innings in the second and third left the Orioles looking up to the Greyhounds, 5-3, heading into the final inning of exhibition play. The momentum was on their side as Mueller, Wilckens, and junior Jaren Adams started off the fourth with singles. After stealing third base, a balk led Mueller across the plate and moved Wilckens to second base. A sacrifice bunt from frosh Jake Tagtmeyer moved the runners into scoring position, but the next two hitters would go down via punchout, ending the varsity portion of the exhibition game with Sweet Springs ahead, 6-4 after scoring another run in their half of the fourth inning, as well.
Wilckens has been swinging a sweet stick lately and kept that energy pumping in this contest, going 2-2 with an RBI. He was the only Oriole to collect two hits.
Nobody enjoys losing, but if the Orioles had to pick a time to fall to a conference opponent, an exhibition game would be the perfect time to do it.
Neither squad’s record was impacted by the result of this contest.