Coach Ben Kleber has seen his Trinity Lutheran baseball have timely hitting, play excellent defense and turn in strong pitching performances in several games this season.
The Cougars dominated in all those areas against Jac-Cen-Del on Thursday, and added aggressive base running to the list to whip the Eagles 11-1 at Alf Snyder field Thursday.
The game was called in the fifth inning because of the 10-run rule. Each of the Trinity starters had a youth from the community accompany them to their defensive position at the start of the game.
“We did a good job swinging the bats, attacking pitches we could,” Kleber said as eight different players combined for 10 hits.
The Cougars got their offense rolling in the first inning when Nathan Voelker led off with a single and Peyton Pollert followed with another single. Drake Goodpaster’s ground ball was errored by the first baseman with Voelker scoring on the play. Goodpaster later scored on a balk.
The visitors used a single, error and wild pitch to score their run in the second inning.
The Cougars batted around in the third inning. Jackson Trueblood was safe on an error and scored on Sage Broughton’s double. Kowan Gross was safe on an error, and Cole Brewer and Luke Coomler had singles with Coomler’s hit driving in a run. Coomler scored on a double-steal.
The Eagles committed three errors in the inning that aided in Trinity’s runs.
Goodpaster and Broughton had back-to-back singles in the fourth and both scored on a double by Gross, and Gross scored on another balk.
Nathan Finke singled down the left-field line leading off the fifth, and courtesy runner Levi Froedge scored on Trueblood’s sacrifice fly for the final run.
“We had a lot of long at bats tonight, fouling pitches off,” Kleber said. “That was nice to see. Then when we got on the bases we caused some havoc, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do all year, and that’s kind of what I wanted the guys to realize that we can do that kind of stuff. We’ve got some speed, we’re good base runners, ‘let’s do it,’ and tonight they finally bought in and it showed. You can score some easy runs when you do that stuff.”
The Cougars had nine stolen bases for the game.
Broughton and Coomler both had two hits, while Voelker, Pollert, Goodpaster, Gross, Brewer and Finke each had one hit. Goodpaster, Broughton and Gross each scored two runs. Gross had two RBI and Trueblood, Goodpaster, Broughton and Coomler all had one RBI.
“We hit some balls at them that they couldn’t field,” Kleber said. “There were a couple other times we did some first-and-thirds on them that they weren’t ready for. We did a good job running the bases. I was really happy with the way we attacked them and kind of put the pressure on them and you saw how much it affected them. That’s what we want to do. We want to be the team that affects the other team.”
Voelker picked up the win, allowing the Eagles one unearned run, three hits, he struck out nine and didn’t walk any.
Kleber said, “It was nice to see him pitch well. He struggled against Brownstown with that blister and everything, so it was nice to see calm back down a little bit. He threw the ball really well. He had the one unearned run that we made an error on. That happens, it’s going to happen, but he got back on the mound and kept us in it and we’re happy to see that.”
“We had (two) errors but we didn’t let it snowball into something else,” Kleber added. “We put our foot down and said. ‘that’s enough,’ and Nathan’s a big part of that when he’s filling it up, so he did a good job. I was happy to see him come out and get back on track.”
Trinity (6-8) will host Indianapolis Lutheran Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.