Concordia wins I-70 Conference baseball tourney
After returning to full strength just in time for the I-70 Conference Tournament, the Concordia High School Orioles emerged from the tourney victorious for the first time since 2010.
After a first-round bye and a big victory over Crest Ridge High School on Tuesday, the Lone Jack High School Mules gave the O’s a run for their money but couldn’t get past Concordia’s talented pitchers.
Despite winning the regular season unofficially multiple times, it is the first time the Orioles have made it through the tournament victorious since 2010, when they finished 19-3 and won the Class 1 State Tournament championship. Congratulations, Concordia!
Tuesday, April 23 — I-70 Conference Tournament — Concordia Sports Complex
Crest Ridge 0
The Concordia Orioles started their tournament championship bid with a blowout victory over the Crest Ridge High School Cougars, piling on extra insurance runs late en route to the 10-0 victory.
The O’s scored a pair of runs in the second and third innings each and picked up another in the fifth inning to pull ahead 5-0 heading into the later innings.
A five-run sixth inning effectively put the game to bed, 10-0.
Sophomores Troy Brandt and Austin Droege each had two hits, as did junior Brayden McGinnis. One of McGinnis and Droege’s hits was a double, while senior Matthew Gatewood also hit a double to go with his two walks.
Droege was also nails from the mound. He struck out 12 of the 19 hitters he faced in 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit and walking four.
The Orioles advanced to 13-3 (8-1) with the victory.
Crest Ridge fell to 10-10 (3-5) with the losing effort.
Wednesday, April 24 — I-70 Conference Tournament — Concordia Sports Complex
Lone Jack 2
The I-70 Conference Tournament championship game was as exciting as anybody could hope, and Oriole fans went home happy after a thrilling 4-2 victory.
Leadoff singles from sophomore Troy Brandt and senior Matthew Gatewood materialized into runs when senior Lane Mueller and sophomore Austin Droege singled as well, driving in Brandt and Gatewood, respectively.
Brandt (hit by pitch) and Gatewood (single) started a two-out, second-inning rally and were driven in on a big double from junior Brayden McGinnis, driving in both.
The Mules took awhile to get their offense rolling, but would cash in a run in the fourth and sixth innings to move the score to 4-2 while the Orioles offense sputtered in the middle innings.
After a dominant starting outing by Gatewood (5.2 innings, 11 strikeouts, six hits, three walks) and a bullpen strikeout from McGinnis, a scary situation presented itself in the seventh and final inning.
A pair of walks and a single led to a bases-loaded, no-out situation with the winning run at first base.
McGinnis seemed unfazed, however, striking out the next two hitters and getting the final out with a weak pop-out to first baseman Mueller, ending the comeback bid and securing the 4-2 victory.
Gatewood carried the Orioles with a 3-4 performance, while Brandt went 1-2 with a pair of hit by pitches. Both O’s scored two runs. McGinnis also clipped a double, driving in the eventual game-winning runs in the second inning.
The Orioles advanced to 14-3 (9-1) with the championship-clinching victory.
Lone Jack performed admirably, but ultimately fell to 11-4 (6-3) with the loss.