Jeeps ride hot bats to victory over Warriors

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' Ethan Ziegler smiles after tagging out North Knox's Ethan Snyder during Monday's baseball game at Northeast Dubois High School. Northeast Dubois defeated North Knox 7-2 as the Jeeps used strong at-bats, pitching and decision making to win their second game of the season. For more photos from the game, click here.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Heading into Monday night’s baseball game against North Knox, junior Austin Knight had mustered just two base hits the entire season and had a batting average below .200.

Looking for anything to get himself going, the Jeep right fielder decided to take his swings using teammate Logan Mehringer’s bat.

It’s safe to say the switch worked wonders ­­— Knight finished 3-of-3 with a double, two singles and an RBI in Northeast Dubois’ 7-2 victory over the Warriors.

“I just wanted to test out (Logan Mehringer’s bat) and it worked for me — I don’t really know what it was,” Knight said. “I just tried to play completely fearless, it’s something coach (Luke Woolems) always tries to tell us to do.”

The Jeeps have had to fight their way through several tough outings so far this season. They currently sit with a 2-12 record, with both victories coming against Blue Chip conference foes (they also defeated Wood Memorial 16-0 in five innings).

They’ve been run-ruled four times, they’ve given up 10 or more runs six times and they’ve also dropped a couple of heartbreaking decisions that could’ve went either way.

But through the ups and downs for the Jeeps this season, there’s one belief that’s stayed the same — always keep your head up high.

“We’re learning not to hang our heads,” said junior starting pitcher Reece Bauer, who struck out six Warrior batters in Monday’s victory. “We have a lot of young varsity players that are still learning what it takes, we’ve focused on getting better everyday and learning from our mistakes.”

On Monday, North Knox (7-5, 2-2) jumped out to an early lead as third baseman Holtman Doades and senior catcher David Lamb both recorded RBI singles to put the Warriors up 2-0. Doades drove in pitcher Brandon DeCoursey who singled to start the game while Lamb drove in shortstop Cole Jones who reached base on an error.

The Jeeps (2-12, 2-2) got on the scoreboard in the second inning as second baseman Ethan Ziegler recorded the first base hit of the night for Northeast Dubois. A few plays later, Knight drove in Ziegler to pull the Jeeps back within one.

Northeast Dubois had another big inning in the third as Mehringer reached on a two-out single and then shortstop Colby Pieper reached base on an error which allowed Mehringer to come home and tie the game at 2-2. The Jeeps took a 3-2 lead on a single from first baseman Logan Lampert that scored Pieper.

“I thought we played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, they just seemed ready to play,” Woolems said. “We had a bit more fiery pep talk than what they’re used to but it’s time — it’s time for them to start maturing and play like we know they’re capable of. We’ve seen flashes of it but now we want to see more of it.”

Northeast Dubois' Reece Bauer pitches during Monday's baseball game at Northeast Dubois High School. Bauer recorded his first victory of the season in a complete game performance as he gave up nine hits while striking out six batters and walking just one. For more photos from the game, click here.

With neither team mustering more than one base runner in the fourth and fifth innings, the Jeeps searched for some key insurance runs in the 6th to stretch the lead.

The Jeeps did that and then some — after Lampert reached base with an error to start the inning, Zeigler used a sacrifice bunt to get him to second base and then Knight’s single put runners on the corner with two outs.

After center fielder Eli Schott was hit by a pitch to load the bases, left fielder Bryce Merkel ripped a two-RBI single that gave the Jeeps a 5-2 lead. However, they weren’t done there — after Bauer was walked to load the bases, the Jeeps got another two-RBI single this time courtesy of Mehringer which put Northeast Dubois ahead 7-2.

Bauer set the Warriors down in order in the top of the seventh inning to secure the victory for the Jeeps.

“That was huge,” said Woolems of the Jeeps’ insurance runs in the sixth inning. “If that’s a one-run game in the top of the 7th with 9-1-2 coming up, it could be a different story. Logan (Lampert) getting on base to start the sixth was huge for us.”

Bauer improved to 1-3 on the mound with the victory as he gave up nine hits and one earned run while striking out six and walking one. Knight and Mehringer both had multi-hit games while Merkel and Mehringer both had two RBIs each.

As we near the final stretch of the season, Northeast Dubois is hoping to start stacking up some more victories in order to gain some momentum for the postseason.

“That would help our confidence a lot,” said Bauer. “We just need to put the bat on the ball and see some good things happen. We want to have some momentum going into it and we want to see some good things happen in the tournament as well.”




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