Bauer’s grand slam brings Jeeps jubilationApril 13, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
DUBOIS — If you hit a grand slam, the celebration that follows better be epic.
Griffen Bauer and the Northeast Dubois baseball team? Well, they didn’t disappoint.
After Bauer rounded the bases following his moonshot in the third inning, he was greeted by his teammates with their hands raised in celebration and their feet tapping on the ground as they imitated the jubilation celebration from the video game ‘Fortnite’.
“Owen (Fuhrman) thought it was a good idea and we all play Fortnite together so it’s something we wanted to incorporate into the game,” Bauer said following the Jeeps 13-1 victory in five innings over county rival Forest Park. “It’s not my favorite celebration but it’s some of theirs. I prefer the one where (your character) starts throwing money on the ground.”
Whether it’s the classic ‘Take the L’ dance or the more traditional ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’, the Jeeps may have several more opportunities to emulate some of the video game’s celebrations out on the field if they can continue to play at the pace they’ve seen so far.
Bauer’s grand slam in the third inning for the Jeeps (4-1) capped of an 11-run inning that saw 16 batters come to the plate and the energy from one Jeep to the next carry over as each new batter took their approach at the plate.
“Once you start getting the first couple of runs, you start to relax and just play smooth,” Bauer said. “That’s what we did and it worked for us.”
As soon as the ball left Bauer’s bat, he was pretty sure it’s gone while Jeep head coach Luke Woolems was just hoping it wouldn’t carry over into foul territory.
“I just kept saying ‘Stay fair’,” Woolems said. “I’m glad to see Griffen have a good at bat and have a little success where we know he’s capable. He had been in his own head a bit so we started to use some Pete Rose-style adjustments where we were just moving him either an inch forward or an inch back at the plate.”
The monstrous inning started after a pitch hit Sidney Schott and Case Eisenhut was walked. The first run came into score on a wild pitch and then after that the runs just continued to flow in.
Alex Bauer, Reece Helming, Brandon Merkel and Sidney Schott all had RBI singles in the inning and the Jeeps were able to keep the momentum up and play smart baseball throughout the night.
“When I got here tonight, I wrote on our board in the dugout, ‘Run everything out.’ Because with this wind, I knew that anything could happen on any ball,” Woolems said. “We took every extra base we could get, we were very aggressive at the plate and I’m very proud of them. We just put the pedal to the medal and kept running.”
On the mound, Eisenhut pitched a solid outing as the Rangers didn’t even get their first hit until the fourth inning. He pitched all five innings giving up just two hits, one walk and struck out four batters.
This was Eisenhut’s first action since coming out in the top of the fifth inning in the season opening 10-0 loss to Heritage Hills. When Eisenhut came out of the game against the Patriots, it was still tied 0-0.
“I was ready to get back out there,” Eisenhut said. “I really had command in the first three innings almost on every pitch, really. In the fourth and fifth innings I started to lose a little velocity but other than that I felt pretty good.”
For Forest Park (2-2), one of the biggest factors in the loss was the lack of making the simple plays.
The Rangers finished with a total of six errors from a ball dropping in between two outfielders to plays that should’ve been routine outs but instead turned into singles. Forest Park head coach Jarred Howard said those errors and mistakes start to place stress on everyone out on the field.
“You can’t put pressure on the pitcher like that. The pitcher starts to lose confidence on the mound because the defense can’t make the play and then he starts pressing a bit,” Howard said. “(Northeast Dubois) has a good ball club and I don’t want to take anything away from them but we just have to make plays. You can’t be giving up five or six outs every inning.”
Forest Park’s two lone hits in the ball game came from Daniel Lusk and Trever Zink and Elliott Rothgerber scored the Ranger run on an RBI groundout in the fourth inning.
Howard isn’t freaking out just yet as he knows it’s early and guys are still trying to get adjusted to their positions in the field and their spots in the batting order. He’s just hoping they can find a way to turn it around.
“It’s early, we’re still trying to figure out what some guys can do and eventually they’re going to have to figure it out,” Howard said. “I hope they learn from it.”
The Jeeps have continued to grow closer together as a unit as the season progresses and that closeness with one another is one of the reasons why Eisenhut believes they’ve had this success this year.
“We’re very close — our senior group is very close and the younger guys are growing up right with us,” Eisenhut said. “We’ve been playing since we were like seven and eight so it’s always worked in our favor.”
Editor’s note: Due to a reporting error in Tuesday’s Northeast Dubois story, Sidney Schott and Eli Schott were incorrectly reported as cousins. The two Jeep baseball players are brothers.
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