Baseball across the State had its first really busy week of games. As often happens, especially early in the year, there were some no-hitters. This week, we had two no-no's but each had a bit of different twist.
The Kirksville Tigers (5-0) won a game that was a no-hitter but they were the team that went hitless! Kirksville won 3-0 over Fulton as they manufactured 3 runs in the 3rd inning. A walk, wild throw on an attempted sacrifice bunt, couple stolen bases, a squeeze bunt and an "extended" run down that enabled a runner to score were some of the components of this highly unusual inning. Joe Kling went 5 2/3 with Keaton Farnsworth wrapping it up with the save. Kirksville's baseball program often ends its season in the Final Four.
On the other side of the no-hit coin, the Macon Tigers used three pitchers who walked a total of nine batters in their 9-4 no-hitter over Chillicothe on the Hornet's home opener. Chillicothe was threatening to and needed a big hit in a couple different innings but Macon always shut the door. Austin Clapp was the winning hurler for Macon.
Several teams are still holding unbeaten cards in their hands. We realize that only a few, if any, will actually complete the season with a zero in the right column. However, it is good to recognize these teams as they sprint out of the starting blocks. Some of these programs are recognized as state-powers and others don't have that type of recognition (yet). So, when the sun shines on someone, let's give them their day.
The Concordia Orioles (4-0) are often found in the STATE tournament and this year appears to be no different. The Orioles blasted Green Ridge 14-0 in 5 innings as they knocked around 14 hits. A quick 5 run, 5 hit outburst in the first inning set the tone in this one. The offensive leader on this day was Hayden Brown (2 doubles and a HR). On the next day, Concordia won 14-0 against Hughesville in another 5 inning tilt in the Knob Noster Tournament. On this wind-filled day, Concordia's bats again remained hot as they punched out ten hits. Coach Nate Beissenherz 's quote "I like the way we are playing for so early in the year", might mean trouble for other teams down the road.
After going unbeaten in a weekend tourney of Jesuit schools, St Louis U High notched wins against Creigton Prep, Rockhurst and Loyola. Now 6-0, the Jr Bills coached by long-time coach, Steve Nicollerat, are being led at the plate by Andrew Pitts (.500) and 3 year starter, Sasha Kuebel (.400). Kuebel, Mitch Klug and Brian Howerd are all 2-0 on the hill with Kuebel yet to surrender an earned run this year. SLUH is in the tough MCC Conference so many tough battles loom on the horizon.
Cody Snelling did it all for Brashear (3-0) in a win over Linn County. Snelling belted two home runs and was the winning pitcher as he hurled six strong innings in a 12-5 win. A six run a 3rd inning was the deciding factor in this one.
Sitting at 5-0 are the Cougars of Lutheran-St Charles. The Cougars scored a single run in the 6th inning this week to tie it up 5-5 with Christian of O'Fallon. Luth SC erupted for a four run 9th inning to win 9-5 game this week. Now in the AAA conference the Cougars have received lots of production from Nick Pautler (.333 and ten stolen bases) and a team high .455 average from Kyle Carter.
We don't usually write about the same team in consecutive weeks, but Tony Perkins and the Howell Vikings give us no choice. Last week, we raved about the five wins and championship in the Troy Tournament. This week, The Vikes hosted the Midwest Classic. This is a grueling tourney for anyone's pitching staff with several outstanding teams from St. Louis and OOT teams from Chicago and California. This week, Howell hangs up another five wins and another Championship! In pool play, the Vikings beat Summit, Glenbrook North and Ft Zumwalt West. (Listen to the Howell-Glenbrook North (Chicago) game). Howell North fell in the semis and Ft Zumwalt East dropped the Championship game 10-3 to Francis Howell. (Listen to replay of Howell-Ft Zumwalt East game). Howell has five of its regular starters banging the ball at over a .400 clip! Gordie Gundaker, Nic Perkins, Brett Graves, Jake Ivory and Brett Peel are are holding .400+ marks after 10 games. Howell is averaging 11.5 runs per game! At this early junction, the Vikings appear to be the class of the Gateway Athletic South (always a great baseball league) and should be followed closely for post-season implications. Listen this week to the GAC-South game between two rivals- Ft Zumwalt South and Francis Howell.
Another St. Charles county team is far under the radar. The Orchard Farm Eagles are still unbeaten! The Eagles are still sitting in that unbeaten ring at 5-0 after hanging up two more wins this week. Spencer Pugh (.632), Zack Jones (.526) and Kyle Kramer (.426) are the hitting leaders. Look for the April 11th game against Lutheran St-Charles(5-0)!
Checking in at 4-0 are the Ladue Rams. Ladue has outscored their four opponents by a 50-5 margin! WOW ! Lucas Tamaren is pounding the ball at a .750 rate in the first two weeks of the season. The prohibitive favorite of the Suburban East, the Rams have set the sights higher than conference and a "good record". This Thursday, the Rams will face another unbeaten team when they travel to play SLUH.
A brand new name to the Prepcasts Flash is Barat Academy (7-1) who won a wild one on Saturday and then dropped the second game to have their unblemished record broken. Barat Academy beat Clopton 13-12 on Saturday but we're beaten 13-1 later in the day by Christian (O'Fallon). Blake Besancenez is leading the way with a .600 average and a .750 on-base %. Congratulations to this relatively new school for such a sparkling start to 2011 baseball season.
Some other teams are off to excellent beginnings despite a loss or two. Some coaches believe that a loss here and there in the early going helps to "focus" their team in practice. I, myself, would rather win them all and still drive them in practice. I think it's easier to teach when you winning. The kids will "buy into" what your preaching and teaching. While having success, players seem more willing to really listen and try to do what you’ve asked them to do.
The Rock Bridge Bruins raised their season record to 7-1 while on a Florida Trip when they beat Wheaton (Illinois) 12-1. Beau Burkett was the only Bruin with more than a single hit while Ryan Phillips notched the win on the mound.
The Boonville Pirates pushed their record to 4-1 with an 8-3 win over Moberly. Jr Tanner Ruffel went the distance permitting only 5 hits, 1 walk and no earned runs in the game. Kellen Kempf led the Pirate hitters with three hits in this NCMC game.
How about the U City Lions ? 9-17 last year, the Lions just won the North County Tournament with wins over Eureka, Ritenour and Hazelwood Central to raise their record to 5-2-1 (7-7 tie with Northwest) for 2011! In the 8-3 win over Haz Central, U City bunched all their scoring into just 2 innings. It's good to see U City back on a competitive plane in baseball. For you Cardinal fans, you remember, Bernard Gilkey was a U City alum. Daryus Small has been on fire at the plate. He's hitting a torrid .769 with seven of his ten hits being extra-base bashes including three round trippers !!
Great week of coverage this week, check out our ALL PREPCASTS GAMES THIS WEEK PAGE. We have something for you every day on www.prepcasts.com !