Cougars beat Mustangs, will play Shiners for sectional title today

MADISON — Trinity Lutheran will battle Rising Sun at 1 p.m. today for the championship of the Shawe Memorial Class A baseball sectional.

Trinity advanced to the title game with a 6-2 win over New Washington on Saturday night after Rising Sun defeated Henryville 3-2.

Trinity (13-15) defeated Rising Sun 9-3 at home on April 4.

Trinity coach Ben Kleber said his team will need better at-bats against the Shiners than what they had against the Mustangs on Saturday.

“Monday, we’ve got to have a better approach at the plate. Rising Sun (15-6-1) is going to have their ace on the mound. He was an all-state kid last year. He throws the ball really well. They had to bring him in today to close that one out, but he’ll be back on the mound Monday,” Kleber said. “We’ve got everybody we want ready to go Monday, so we’re happy the way we’re set up.”

The Cougars scored one run in the first inning against the Mustangs, then took control of the game with a four-run second inning.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Nathan Voelker singled, and he came home on Drake Goodpaster’s double into left-center field.

The Cougars batted around in the second to score four times. Luke Coomler began the rally by reaching first safely on an error. Kowan Gross followed with a walk, and both runners moved with stolen bases.

Sage Broughton singled to drive in Coomler, and Voelker singled to score Gross and Broughton. Andrew Bell singled to drive in Voelker.

“We did take control,” Kleber said. “It was a good job by us early to kind of get on the gas. I was happy to see that, us score one in the first and four in the second. We just got complacent. We missed that squeeze (in the second inning). That would have been huge. We got doubled up, and that can’t happen. We talked about that a little bit. Other than that, I was happy about our approach. Their guys threw strikes and kept us off balance. They did a good job.”

Voelker, meanwhile, kept the Mustangs off of the scoreboard with his four innings of work on the mound. With two outs in the first, he gave up back-to-back singles, but he ended the threat with the second of his seven strikeouts.

Voelker said he felt like he had a good game offensively with two hits, two runs scored and two RBI.

“I think I did pretty well at-bat,” he said. “I had to battle with two strikes on one of the hits.”

He said he was effective on the mound because he was able to locate his fastball.

“I was putting a lot of fastballs on the outside,” he said. “Our pitchers are doing really well, so we should be good defensively. It was a good team win tonight. We really took a step forward.”

Goodpaster took over on the mound in the fifth, and he hit the first batter he faced and walked the next. After he struck out the next two batters, Lane Waters singled to center to drive in one run, and the second run scored on a throwing error.

The first two batters reached base in the sixth, but Goodpaster came back strong with three strikeouts.

Chase Bode had two more strikeouts in the seventh, giving the three Cougars a total of 15.

“Our three pitchers did a good job throwing strikes. I was happy with those guys. That is exactly how we wanted the game to go to where we’re happy with it,” Kleber said. “We knew what we were going to get out of Nathan, four strong innings, seven strikeouts and under 60 pitches. That was nice to see.”

Gross reached base on an error in leading off the sixth and scored on a single by Blaine Wehmiller.

Besides Voelker’s offense, Gross scored two runs, Broughton had a hit, an RBI and a run, Wehmiller, Bell and Goodpaster all had a hit and an RBI and Coomler had a hit and scored a run.