Peerless execution punctuates Bomber escape

By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

HUNTINGBURG — Bo Ausmus decided he and his Dubois County Bomber teammates had played enough baseball for two nights.

Schwinghamer

Less than 24 hours after enduring a 12-inning contest, Dubois County needed extra innings again Thursday night, when the Bombers squeezed out a run in the 10th inning to collect a 2-1 victory over the Fulton Railroaders at League Stadium.

After the Bombers loaded the bases in the 10th, Ausmus lined the first pitch of his at-bat down the third-base line, scoring Jarret Young, who drew a leadoff walk for Dubois County (7-4).

Ausmus, a self-described “first-pitch hitter,” pulled the first offering of the at-bat, a fastball, placing the Bombers in a virtual tie with Madisonville (6-3) for first place in the Ohio Valley League.

“Everybody’s body was just tired,” Ausmus said. “It was kind of discouraging going into extra innings, but it wasn’t that bad. That’s what we’re here for.”

The Bombers allowed just two hits, committed only one error, were successful in both of their stolen base attempts and halted a pair of rallies with double plays.

“Overall, that was our best executed game,” Dubois County manager Wes Fink said.
The contest nearly ended after nine innings.

Fulton’s Colton Simbeck drilled a pinch-hit, leadoff double in the ninth, moving up to second base after the ball rolled to the gap in right-center field. The Railroaders’ next batter flew out to right field, unable to advance Simbeck, but reliever A.J. Vasquez then hit the next hitter.

Vasquez (1-0) wiggled out of the jam, however, inducing a soft ground ball to shortstop that resulted in an inning-ending double play. Fulton (4-6) tied the game at 1 in the eighth after Vasquez plunked the first batter he faced and then allowed an RBI single later in the frame.

Dubois County starter and University of Evansville incoming sophomore Connor Strain, who usually relieves, tossed seven innings, allowing just a first-inning single while striking out six. He benefited from a double play in the fourth after starting the frame by hitting a batter, and he also stranded a pair of runners in the second and seventh innings after walking the Railroaders’ last two batters in the lineup with two outs.

Strain’s strong effort was especially needed one night after five pitchers saw action in the Bombers’ 9-8 victory over Owensboro.

“We needed Connor big-time,” Fink said. “He stepped up and took the ball and threw strikes all night.”

Dubois County took the lead in the fifth inning when Forest Park graduate Kyle Schwinghamer poked a single through the right side that bounced off the first baseman’s glove and into shallow right field.

Schwinghamer just completed his sophomore season at the University of Evansville and played a handful of games in the Ohio Valley League last season, competing with the Owensboro Oilers. Last year was the first time he’d hit with a wooden bat and his transition has continued this season. Fink mentioned that’s something to keep an eye on with guys new to the league, and Ausmus added that “there’s not really a lot of pointers you can give.” Basically, guys have to hit with a wooden bat until they’re used to it. Schwinghamer is getting there.

“I feel like a lot of guys are afraid to have a piece of wood broken in their hands,” Schwinghamer said, “but playing in a couple games, you get used to it, taking batting practice, and the more we play, the more I get comfortable with it. It’s not too bad. I kind of like hitting with wood, it just doesn’t hit as hard.”

Schwinghamer has played in nine games for the Bombers, hitting .111 (3-for-27). And Fink hinted that Schwinghamer’s average may be deceiving, given how well he’s been hitting the ball this year.  
“It was great to see Schwinghamer do that, because he’s been hitting the ball hard, right at people,” Fink said. “Those two pitchers going back and forth, it was basically a pitchers’ duel, and he came up big for us.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.




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