St. Vincent gave Chaffee everything they wanted and more.
The Red Devils, the No. 5 ranked team in Class 2, scored three runs in the seventh inning and held off an Indian rally to hand St. Vincent a 7-5 loss on Monday at Veterans Memorial Field in Perryville.
“I know that we can play with anybody and we were due for a good game,” St. Vincent baseball coach Corey Sauer said. “We just struck out at the plate too many times and didn’t put the ball in play as much as I would have liked.”
The game was tied at 4-4 leading into the top of the seventh and Chaffee’s offense had its best inning in the game.
Peyton Atkins started the inning off with a single that got by an Indian outfielder and ended up going all the way to the wall. Atkins ended up on second and knocked St. Vincent starter John Wibbenmeyer out of the game as he neared his pitch limit.
The next batter walked and Alec Brown laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners over to second and third with one out.
Brennan Fowler came through with a single that scored a run that gave Chaffee a 5-4 lead. Liam Krauss struck out Jagger Sadler looking for the second out of the inning, but Levi McKinnie drove a pitch down the third base line for a 2-RBI triple to put the Red Devils up 7-4. McKinnie ended the day 2 for 3 with four RBI and a walk. Fowler was 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored for Chaffee (8-1)
Krauss went 3 for 4 for St. Vincent with two RBI, while Wibbenmeyer went 2 for 3 at the plate.
“Chaffee played like they needed to in that last inning,” Sauer said. “They have a deep lineup and have a bunch of good ball players. We had them on the ropes and they come through with some big hits when they needed it.”
St. Vincent, who has shown the ability to rally late in games, nearly did it again.
Lucas Schilling beat out an infield single with one out, which spun away from the Chaffee third baseman.
Wibbenmeyer followed with a single to left field to give the Indians runners on first and second. After a strikeout put the Indians down to their final out, Jackson Rellergert hit a sharp groundball to shortstop and the throw was bobbled by the first baseman, which caused Rellergert to be safe at first.
However, Wibbenmeyer attempted to go home but was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Sauer felt like the play was a little bit of bad luck.
“That’s a tough play there,” Sauer said. “It was a 3-2 count with two outs so the baserunners are going to be moving. You don’t think their guy is going to bobble the throw at first. John was rounding third in case of a bad throw and he just got caught in between and he went for home. I wasn’t necessarily sending him home, but it’s a tough play.”
The game was close throughout as Chaffee struck first.
Wibbenmeyer hit the second batter of the game and then he got Fowler to ground back to the mound for the second out of the inning. Sadler came through with an RBI double that gave Chaffee a 1-0 lead. Wibbenmeyer was called for a balk that allowed another run to cross that gave the Red Devils a 2-0 advantage.
Wibbenmeyer calmed down after that and kept the Indians in the game.
The senior pitched six innings, gave up five runs, on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks on 103 pitches.
“He pitched a fantastic game and has been keeping us in games all season,” Sauer said. “He’s just a bulldog.”
The Indians were kept in check until the second when Krauss singled to lead-off the inning and Rellergert grounded a pitch to the shortstop, Chaffee attempted to turn a double play but Rellergert beat out the throw to first. He stole second base and advanced to third as the ball got away from the Chaffee infielder.
Shjon Pyle came through with a single that drove home Rellergert to narrow the Chaffee lead to 2-1.
Pyle moved to second on a balk by Red Devil starter Alec Brown, but the next two Indian batters struck out. St. Vincent struck out 14 times in the game.
Wibbenmeyer worked around a walk and another hit batsman in the fourth inning, and then the St. Vincent offense came alive.
Krauss was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth inning and stole second base. Rellergert doubled to tie the game at 2-2. Pyle followed that up with a single. Jacob Kapp laid down a squeeze bunt after Pyle stole second and a bad throw allowed both runners to score and give St. Vincent a 4-2 lead.
“That was a good time to call for the bunt and I think Jacob executed it perfectly,” Sauer said. “Sometimes when you put the ball in play good things happen.”
The Indians failed to get any more runs across that inning, despite having no outs as two of the next three batters struck out.
Chaffee countered in the top of the next inning with a two-run single by McKinnie with two outs.
Despite the loss, Sauer is excited to see how his team responds to what he called the “best game” of the year.
“Games like this should be a confidence booster.”