Offensive firepower shines for Jeeps in victoryApril 18, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
DUBOIS — Leading 13-7 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Northeast Dubois sophomore Reece Bauer was up at the plate needing just a triple to complete the cycle — a rare feat in baseball where a player hits a single, double, triple and a home run all in the same game.
With the speed that Bauer has, he was prepared to turn any single or double into a triple to finish the accomplishment. Except, he never got that opportunity when the ball carried off his bat a long way over the fence for his second home run of the game in the Jeeps 17-7 victory over Blue Chip conference foe Barr-Reeve in five innings Tuesday night in Dubois.
“I really felt great tonight,” Bauer said following his four-hit performance, which included two three-run homers, a double and a single. “Coming into the game I was really struggling on offense this year and I was just popping a lot of pitches up. I started to change my stance a bit here lately and it paid off tonight with four hits.”
Bauer’s first home run of the night came in the very first inning when the Jeeps took a 5-0 lead following the moonshot and RBI singles from Case Eisenhut and Owen Fuhrman. While the long ball was Bauer’s first career homer in high school, it wasn’t his first one ever — that came back in eighth grade.
The offense that Bauer’s deep hits helped to contribute excited Jeep head coach Luke Woolems.
“The home runs were huge and it just seemed like every time (Barr-Reeve) would scratch back a bit, Reece would come to the plate and we’d put a crooked number on the board,” Woolems said. “I don’t think he was as sharp on the mound as he would’ve liked to have been tonight but he sure made up for it at the plate.”
While the Class 1A No. 5 Jeeps (5-2, 1-0 Blue Chip) finished with 17 total hits on the night, the Vikings had their fair share of offense as well even if it came on just a total of five hits.
After giving up a five-spot in the first inning, Barr-Reeve (3-3, 1-2 Blue Chip) bounced back with three runs in the second inning and put up three more in the top of the fourth inning after a two-run homer by senior Nick Parsons. But even after the Vikings clawed into a lead, the Jeeps pushed right back.
Leading just 7-6 going into the bottom of the fourth, Northeast Dubois took an 11-6 lead out of the inning as a two-RBI double from Griffen Bauer, a sacrifice fly from Alex Bauer and a run scoring on a wild pitch stretched the Jeeps lead to five runs.
After giving up one more run on an RBI groundout in the top of the fifth inning, the Jeeps offense got to work in the bottom half of the inning as RBI singles from Griffen Bauer, Fuhrman, the three-run shot from Reece Bauer and a score on a wild pitch sent the Jeeps home early as winners.
“As good as we’re hitting the ball right now, I still think there’s so many more improvements that we can make,” said senior Brandon Merkel who finished 3-for-4 on the night. “Our upside is really high and if we just keep working like we are, I think the sky is the limit to where we can go.”
In terms of improvements the Jeeps can make, Woolems still wants to see some more variety on the mound in terms of types of pitches that are thrown. He felt that the seven runs the Vikings scored was still a little bit too many.
“I’d rather not see them have so much offensive production, but sometimes you have to win ball games like this,” Woolems said. “They took some opportunities of some things we gave them but we only had one error and their five hits worked out to seven runs, so obviously there were some walks and free passes in there. We just have to use a little more mixology — they’re sitting on their fastball early in the game because that’s all we’re throwing so we have to get our pitchers to trust their stuff and actually pitch and not just throw.”
Something that’s been noticeable about the Jeeps success they’ve seen so far this season is how much joy they’re getting out of it.
From the ‘Fortnite’ celebration after Griffen Bauer’s grand slam last week against Forest Park to teammates circling around Reece Bauer all yelling in excitement after his second homer, the Jeeps are having fun — and lots of it.
“The flow is just amazing when we’re having fun,” Reece Bauer said. “Putting up 17 runs on 17 hits, I think we’re going to be hard to beat when we’re out there having fun and playing to the best of our ability.”
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