Errors sink Cougars in title game

CAMPBELLSBURG — Trinity Lutheran’s postseason run came to a screeching halt in the Sectional 61 finals Monday evening.

When they needed to mask it the most, the team’s youth showed through.

The Cougars committed five errors in a 7-2, season-ending loss to Orleans at West Washington High School.

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All but two of the Bulldogs’ runs were unearned.

In the first inning, the Cougars’ Tyler Goecker made it on base with a hit and Reid Kruse was walked. With the next at-bat, Chandler Reynolds hit an RBI to leftfield. Orleans’ leftfielder bobbled the ball on the play, allowing Kruse to also make it home and put Trinity up 2-0.

The Bulldogs answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. After getting on base with a single, Cooper Stalker made it to home plate from second base thanks to an errant throw from the mound to first base on a poke from Duncan Gerkin.

After holding the Cougars at bay in the top of the inning, the Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the second.

Following a leadoff double from Evan Buechler, John McFarland hit a flare to center field to plate a run.

Neither team scored in the next two innings before the Bulldogs added a pair of runs in the fifth. After two runners reached on errors, two runs scored on an errant play from the shortstop to first base.

The mistakes didn’t stop for the Cougars in the sixth.

The Bulldogs scored on a wild pitch before Jacob VonDielingen was replaced on the mound with Jack Marksberry. With the next at-bat, Gerkin hit an RBI double. Marksberry hit the next two batters with pitches before getting replaced by Kruse. Another wild pitch allowed the Bulldogs to score a third run.

Trinity wouldn’t get on base in the top of the seventh allowing Orleans to win its ninth sectional title and first since 2015.

VonDielingen took the loss on the mound, pitching 6.1 innings while recording nine strikeouts, five hits, two walks and six runs (one earned). Gerkin was the winning pitcher, working all seven innings.

“It came down to simple execution,” Trinity coach Matt VonDielingen said. “Both pitchers threw really well. Both offenses were able to put the bat on the ball, but not with authority or frequency. It was a lot of weak contact. We had a lot of mental errors to compound the physical errors. We had five freshmen in the lineup, so some of that is expected. I told them I hope it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, and they come back next year with a lot more focus.”

The Bulldogs, who had one error, outhit the Cougars 6-3 in the game.

Trinity will graduate Jacob Crockett, VonDielingen and Reynolds from the program.

“Jacob Crockett is one who didn’t play a lot growing up, joined up in high school and kept getting better and better each year,” coach VonDielingen said. “Chandler has played a lot of baseball and has a high baseball I.Q. He was an offensive force from freshman year on. Jake (VonDielingen), we leaned on his arm all year long. Someone will need to step up next year and fill that role.”