Raiders, Jeeps learn lessons in slugfestApril 9, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
DUBOIS — 25 combined runs, 27 combined hits and six total home runs.
Tuesday’s baseball game between Southridge and Northeast Dubois had everything you could have possibly wanted if you’re a fan of high-scoring offense.
The Raiders came away with a 16-9 victory over the host Jeeps in a game that several lead changes and an abundance of different pitchers. While there were positives for both teams, both head coaches know that their respective programs still have a lot to work on.
“I’m not really too happy with how we executed — it’s a good thing we hit some balls out of here or else it could’ve been a different story,” said Southridge head coach Gene Mattingly. “To be honest, I’m probably about as disappointed in a win as I’ve ever been. There’s a lot of things we have to get right and it’s not just what happens on the field — it’s our emotion, it’s our fire. We have a pretty nonchalant attitude right now.”
For Northeast Dubois, head coach Luke Woolems was pleased with some of the hits the Jeeps recorded (14 total) and also their improvement on the mound.
The biggest concern was the number that showed up on the far right side of the scoreboard – nine defensive errors.
“A lot of it is between the ears,” Woolems said. “They can do it in practice but then they come out here and I’m not sure if it’s imitation or playing under the lights — I don’t know what it is.”
Southridge (2-2) wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first inning as Colson Montgomery’s first home run of the season put the Raiders up 2-0 in the first inning.
However, Northeast Dubois (0-5) quickly answered as Eli Schott and Bryce Merkel reached on back-to-back singles to start the game and then Reece Bauer drove in Schott with an RBI double. The Jeeps took a 3-2 lead immediately after that as Logan Mehringer scored Merkel and Bauer on a two-RBI double.
Northeast Dubois expanded on its lead in the bottom of the second inning. After Southridge starting pitcher Logan Seger struck out the first two batters of the inning, three consecutive batters reached base as Merkel and Bauer both added RBIs to put the Jeeps ahead 5-2.
But in a game that was back-and-forth early, Southridge cut the lead to one on a two-run home run from Chase Taylor in the top of the third and then regained the lead on Conner Oxley’s moonshot which put Southridge ahead 6-4.
“Oh, my confidence went through the roof,” said Oxley with a laugh, talking about his home run. “It’s something else.”
Even though Taylor had a home run and three RBIs in the win, he still believes the Raiders need to have a better performance at the plate.
“It wasn’t up to our standards by any means,” Taylor said. “I also think we can do better on our fielding and defense — all we need to do is execute.”
The team’s confidence as a whole seemed to go up after that inning as Southridge expanded on its lead in the top of the fourth inning after a two-RBI single from Logan Seger made it 8-5 Raiders. Southridge also scored on one of the nine Jeep errors later in the inning to make it 9-5.
However, the Jeeps weren’t going to go away quietly. After Schott, Merkel and Aden Thewes all reached with singles, Bauer sent a deep fly ball over the wall for a home run to put Northeast Dubois behind by just one run, 9-8.
“He leads by example on the plate and with everything he does around the program,” Woolems said about Bauer.
After holding Southridge in the fifth inning, the Raiders put together a big inning in the bottom of the sixth that ended up sealing the deal. Joe LaGrange scored on an error, Montgomery drove in Cort Gerber with a sacrifice fly, Taylor scored Tucker Schank on an RBI single and Ethan Bell drove in four total runs with a big grand slam to make it 16-8.
While Northeast Dubois added one more run in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of an RBI groundout from Logan Mehringer, the Jeeps went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
Reece Bauer finished 4-for-4 with five RBIs, three doubles and a home run, Bryce Merkel was 4-for-4 with four singles and Logan Mehringer drove in three runs. Bauer took the loss on the mound.
“We’ve seen some good things — pitching has gotten better, the walks are coming down,” Woolems said. “I know a lot of people measure success by wins and losses but with his team, we know what growth and development looks like.”
Colson Montgomery and Chase Taylor both had three RBIs for the Raiders while Ethan Bell led the way with four runs driven in from his grand slam. Logan Seger and Conner Oxley both drove in two runs each as Seger picked up his first victory on the mound this season.
The Raiders know they can play better as they hope to see better baseball moving forward.
“We just have to keep our heads up. We know that if we stay together we can accomplish big things,” Oxley said. “Last year’s team came out like they had something to prove, we need to come out with the same mentality.”
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