Archive for Friday, April 15, 2016

Free State capitalizes on St. James miscues

April 15, 2016

— Baseball is a cruel game. In the bottom of the 10th with runners at second and third St. James looked to be getting out of the jam as Connor Sheridan, who normally plays outfield, induced Kyle Abrahamson to pop up in foul territory.

What normally would be a routine play for Derek Ripp was not as Ripp dropped the ball and allowed the Free State sophomore another hack.

On the next pitch, Abrahamson singled in the game winning run giving the Firebirds a 7-6 victory in a game that lasted more than three hours at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark.

“I came to far back and tried to come back in,” Ripp said. “I just missed it.”

The Thunder were in position to win the game as they scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning before Lucas Scheele took the mound to shut the door.

Scheele gave up a single to Mikey Corbett, then walked Bradley Collicott. Zion Bowlin reached as third basemen Davis Ernsdorff couldn’t handle a chopper.

The bases were loaded for Hunter Gudde, who hit a slow roller to Ernsdorff, who couldn’t get Gudde at first. Bases were still loaded until Abrahamson unloaded them with the aid of Thunder second baseman Kemper Bednar

Bednar wasn’t going to get Collicott at home so he went to second to try and get Gudde. The throw was behind shortstop Spencer Kaifes and the ball went into left field. All three runners came across scoring and tying the game.

“We were in position to get out of the seventh with the bases loaded,” St. James coach Brian Bucklin said. “We had them right were we wanted them. It’s just routine plays. Baseball — that’s the way it goes. If we make routine plays, we win. We didn’t do that in clutch situations. Even the one at the end. That’s a routine play and we have to make them.”

Scheele settled down, but Free State had its chance in the eighth inning when Collicott tripled to right center.

Scheele collected himself, stepped off the rubber and threw to Ripp at first. Collicott was called out for missing a base.

It was a good thing the Thunder appealed because Bowlin tripled to right before, Scheele ended the inning by striking out Gudde with a fooling breaking ball.

“I learned we’re going to fight,” Bucklin said. “That’s what I’ve learned about our team today. To say we didn’t get down early, that’s one of the best starting pitchers in the state and we battled him. We had a really good approach all day. We did enough to win, but we did a whole hell of a lot to lose it too.”

After seeing pitches in the 90s from Free State starter Trevor Munsch for six innings, Parker Tietjen was quite the contrast as he couldn’t touch 70 with his fastball.

The first time through the lineup, Tietjen had no issues, but the second time through, he loaded the bases in the 10th with no outs. Nick Modricin walked, Zac Storm was hit by a pitch, and both advanced on a wild pitch. Jake Owens was intentionally walked to set up a force at every base.

Spencer Kaifes struck out, Ripp popped weakly to third base and Scheele flied out to right-center.

“I wasn’t patient enough; I didn’t get my pitch,” Ripp said. “I tried to chase something that wasn’t in the zone.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.