|St. John’s drops season finale at Versailles|
|Sunday, May 18, 2014 8:03 PM|
dhi MEDIA Correspondent
VERSAILLES — Unlike in professional sports like the NBA or the NHL, where the season seems to go on forever, the high school baseball season is over before you know it. High school coaches and athletes cram about 25 games into a short 6-week time span — sometimes playing five games in a week.
With this tight schedule, it means no time to practice fundamentals between games and pitching rotations are stretched to the limit.
Mother Nature also can wreak havoc on schedules with her unpredictable spring weather. Rain forced the postponement of the St. John’s Midwest Athletic Conference battle at Versailles on consecutive Thursdays but the third time was the charm as the game was finally played Saturday under partly sunny skies.
Unfortunately for St. John’s, the wait wasn’t worth it as they dropped their season finale 7-1.
The Jays got two runners on base in the first inning against Versailles starter Kyle McEldowey with a single by senior T.J. Hoersten and Austin Heiing’s walk. McEldowey’s curveball gave the Blue Jay batters fits and he escaped the early
jam with the first of his eight strikeouts.
The Tigers’ hitting got right to work in the home half of the first with Austin Knapke’s leadoff single to center. Daniel Borchers drilled a liner that carried over Ben Wrasman’s head in center field for a double. Hoersten settled down getting the final two outs of the inning on groundouts but Knapke scored for a 1-0 lead.
Versaille’s kept pounding the ball in its next at-bat. Collin Peters walked; Jacob Wenning and Jacob Heitkamp hit identical grounders through the hole at short to load the bases. Knapke looped a soft liner to shallow right field that Josh Warnecke nearly made a remarkable over-the-shoulder catch but instead got the force-out at second as the runner scored for a 2-0 lead.
The Jays threatened again in the third inning as a pair of seniors got on base: Wrasman doubled and Hoersten singled with one out. McEldowey retired the next two.
Wrasman, as he has done all season, made a great running catch in center on a ball laced by Daniel Borchers for the second out of the third inning. After the next two Tigers reached safely, Collin Peter’s single to center plated both and
coach Ryan Warnecke moved Hoersten to third base and Jacob Youngpeter to the hill, stirking out Wenning.
Youngpeter reached as he was hit by a pitch batting in the fourth and Gage Seffernick followed with a walk. McEldowey responded with three strikeouts.
The Tigers loaded the bases against Youngpeter in the bottom of the inning but scored only once to push the lead to 4-0.
Versailles made a pitching change in the fifth inning as McEldowey was replaced by Knapke and the Jays took advantage. Wrasman led off with a single and stole second. Jesse Ditto’s hit to shallow center put runners on the corners with one out. A wild pitch by Knapke scored the speedy Wrasman and the Jays were on the board. After Heiing was hit by a pitch, Knapke got the final two outs.
The Tigers tacked on the final two runs in the sixth.
“Versailles hit the ball like we expected them to,” Coach Warnecke said. “I thought that we played well but our bats went silent once we got runners in scoring position and couldn’t match their offense.”
The Blue Jays left eight runners on base and the Tigers stranded a dozen.
Versailles improved to 13-9 (6-2 MAC).
St. John’s was led by the first three in their lineup as Wrasman and Hoersten each had two hits and Ditto had one as they finish the 2014 campaign with a 2-20 record.
“I’m sad to see our four seniors go (Wrasman, Hoersten, Andy May and Kyle Pohlman) but I’m also excited about the future of Blue Jay baseball,” explained Warnecke. “These seniors provided leadership for our young team and we gained some valuable experience for next year. We’ll have most of our starting rotation returning next season, so the future looks bright after a down year.”