The baseball field on the Saxony Lutheran High School campus was nearly unplayable as of Friday. So much so that the Crusaders didn’t even practice, they spent the time working on the field in preparation for the team’s doubleheader the next day against Oak Ridge.
“The kids want to play, so they were all out there with rakes and I’m proud of them,” Saxony baseball coach Paul Sander said. “They want to be invested in the program.”
The Crusaders were able to play on Saturday because of their hard work and they made the most of their opportunity.
The Crusaders handled their twin bill with the Blue Jays with victories of 11-1 in the first contest and 10-0 in the next. Both games ended after five innings.
The pair of victories helped Saxony end the week with a 4-0 record after wins over Bloomfield and Meadow Heights.
“You’re always happy with the win,” Sander said. “We were happy with the pitching as well. We’ve had four games and four really good starts out of four different guys. You can’t ask for more than that.”
The second of those terrific starts on Saturday was turned in by Wilson Lodge, who pitched a no-hitter in the nightcap.
Lodge threw five innings, with nine strikeouts and one walk on an economical 54 pitches.
“He’s a different pitcher than our other three starters,” Sander said. “He throws a really good curveball and a really good change up and keeps the hitters off balance. More importantly, he puts the ball across the plate and throws strikes.”
Even though Lodge didn’t really need much help, the Saxony offense was up to the task as they scored at least one run in all five innings.
Carson Birk went 2-3 with an RBI, while Tanner King, Zac Lewis and Lodge each scored a pair of runs, as the Crusaders put up seven hits in the contest, and were helped out by three walks and five errors.
“That’s going to happen sometimes,” Sander said. “The good teams are able to take advantage of those things. I was really happy that we were able to chip away in each of the innings and put up runs.”
Saxony 11, Oak Ridge 1
After a slow start, Saxony exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning to take the first game of the day. While Sander was happy with the victory he was a little concerned with his team’s intensity throughout the beginning of the game.
“We waited again, until the fifth inning, to really get going,” Sander said. “We should get going before then. We did the same thing against Meadow Heights and we can’t continue to do that. As you go through the year, a team is going to beat you if you wait that long to get the offense going.”
In the decisive fifth inning Saxony did not wait long. King was hit by the pitch as the first four batters reached base. Lodge singled to left to scored the first run of the inning, then Colin Tarry signed home two more runs to give Saxony a 7-1 advantage. Drew Hahs later doubled home a run to increase the lead even more.
In all, Tarry went 2-2 in the game with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. Hunter Hamilton also had a pair of hits with two RBI and a run scored. Jace Boland and Jacob Johnson scored two runs apiece.
The game got off to a shaky start for pitcher Will LeDure as he let up the lone run for OakRidge on the day in the opening inning. The first two batters reached base on a walk and a single, before Zach Ruesler drove him in with a groundball.
After that, LeDure settled down and pitched five innings, allowed three hits with seen strikeouts and two walks.
“He started out rough,” Sander said of LeDure’s start, “But he pitched a masterful game after the first inning.”