Pitching, defense carry Grems to round robin sweep

April 6, 2014

in Sports

SH-Tigers-8Observer Staff

Sophomore hurlers Kolin Brace and Chance Spangler pitched complete game shutouts and the Gremlins defense backed them up with 14 innings of error-free baseball. This allowed the Sacred Heart nine to win 6-0 and 9-0 over the Pilot Grove and Versailles Tigers respectively at Palmer Nichols Field in Centennial Park on Saturday. Pilot Grove (1-1 on the day) beat Versailles (0-2) by a score of 11-1 in the middle game of the round robin event.

Here are the complete game recaps.

Game One

Sacred Heart 6, Pilot Grove 0

Sacred Heart sophomore Kolin Brace squared off with Pilot Grove’s hard throwing senior ace Trenton Young in what promised to be a terrific high school baseball game.

Things started out shaky for Brace in the top of the first. Leadoff man Colton Glenn grounded out to third to open the game but the second and third hitters for the Tigers from the CCAA both singled to left. With two on and one out Young, the Pilot Grove cleanup hitter, hit a sharp ground ball to second.

Gremlin 2nd baseman Chance Spangler fielded it cleanly and tossed it to shortstop Caleb Tanguay to record the second out. In the process of trying to transfer the ball to his throwing hand and make the double play relay to first, Tanguay dropped the ball, allowing it to roll a few feet towards the outfield grass.

The Pilot Grove runner rounding third took off for home. Tanguay retrieved the ball quickly and made the throw home. SH catcher Mason Kelchner applied the tag to complete the unconventional double play and the threat was averted.

In the top of the second Pilot Grove threatened again. Jon Gerke rapped a single up the middle to start the inning. After Jake Leverton flied out to left for the first out, 2nd baseman Keaton Vollrath blooped a single to short right and the Tigers were in business again.

The Gremlin defense stepped up a second time though as Pilot Grove’s Alex Twenter slapped a crisp ground ball to Tanguay at short that resulted in a sparkling 6-4-3 double play. This would prove to be Pilot Grove’s last real threat against Brace and his defense. Brace allowed 6 hits for the game, only two more after the second inning.

In the first two Gremlin at bats it looked like Trenton Young was going to make it a long day for SH hitters. He opened the game powerfully recording 4 strikeouts in the first two frames. But the Grems came alive in the third.

Gremlin right fielder Michael Hohne led off the inning with a sharp single to right on an 0-2 pitch. Hohne stole second and Jackson Smith, the SH leadoff man, followed with a sharp single to left moving Hohne to third.

Ben Smeltzer was up next and lofted a sacrifice fly to left to get the Gremlin scoring started. Young struck out Tanguay for the second out. Mason Kelchner appeared to strike out on a curve ball in the dirt for the final out of the inning but reached first when the ball bounced hard off the back stop towards the third base dugout. This mistake proved costly for the Tigers.

Clint Spangler walked to load the bases and Chance Spangler followed that with another walk to force in Smith with the second run of the inning. Third baseman Garrett Strange followed that with a sharp single to left to score two more. The Gremlins scored the fifth run of the inning on an errant pickoff attempt at first and Brace had all the runs he was going to need.

Caleb Tanguay drove in the Gremlins final run in the sixth with a double off the base of the fence in right center against Tiger reliever Brady Rental to score Ben Smeltzer. Smeltzer was 2 for 3 in the game with an RBI, 2 stolen bases and a run scored. Strange was 1 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs.

Brace improved his record to 2-0 on the young season by tossing 7 scoreless innings. He only needed 66 pitches on the afternoon, recording no strikeouts and no walks but did hit two batters. Young went to 1-1 on the season for Pilot Grove.

Game 2

Pilot Grove 11, Versailles 1

The Pilot Grove bunch bounced back with a vengeance in the day’s second game. They scored four in the bottom of the first, tacked on another one in the bottom of the second and never looked back.

Regan Meisenheimer tossed a complete game victory for Pilot Grove, now 4-2 on the season. Meisenheimer gave up an unearned run in the first. He struck out 6 and walked only 3 in the contest.

Pilot Grove racked up 13 hits in the six inning affair. First baseman Grant Felten led the way going 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and an RBI.

Dalton York took the loss for Versailles pitching 5 1/3 giving up 11 runs, 8 earned with 2 Ks and a walk. Versailles catcher Dylan Ballew went 2 for 2 in the game. He also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the first that helped produce Versailles only run.

Game 3

Sacred Heart 9, Versailles 0

This game started in a very similar fashion to the Gremlins earlier game. Versailles right fielder Blake Varner opened the game with a single to right. The next hitter popped out to the catcher bringing Tiger first baseman Dalton York to the plate with one out and a runner on first.

On a 1-1 pitch York hit a sharp one hopper that was snagged by pitcher Chance Spangler before it could get through the middle. Spangler wheeled and threw a strike to shortstop Caleb Tanguay coming across the bag at second. Tanguay’s relay to first baseman Clint Spangler was perfect and the tone for the game was set.

Spangler (2-0) didn’t allow another Versailles hitter to advance past first base as he cruised from there to the complete game win. Spangler only faced 23 batters in the game (two above the minimum for a seven-inning contest). He gave up two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts on the day.

Sacred Heart’s offense was consistent scoring 2 runs in the first, four in the third, two in the fourth inning and one more in the fifth. Catcher Mason Kelchner led the Gremlin hit parade going three for three with a walk. Kelchner had 3 RBIs and a run scored in the contest. Leadoff man Jackson Smith also sparked the offense going one for two with a double, an RBI sacrifice fly, a hit by pitch and two runs scored.

Gavin Silkwood was the tough luck starter for Versailles. He gave up all nine runs in the game but only five of those were earned. Silkwood recorded six strikeouts in his five innings of work. His only walk on the day was an intentional walk to Kelchner in the bottom of the fifth.

The Gremlins are now 7-0 on the season under second year head coach Jaric Reid. They take on the Northwest Mustangs in a key Kaysinger Conference matchup on Tuesday at Centennial Park.  Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia Weekly Observer.

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