Dutchmen nine tame St. James’ Tigers in FRC Tournament opener

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 3/23/22

Hits up and down the lineup.

That is a goal for any high school baseball coach during any game.

During Saturday’s Four Rivers Conference (FRC) preseason baseball tournament first-round …

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Dutchmen nine tame St. James’ Tigers in FRC Tournament opener

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Hits up and down the lineup.

That is a goal for any high school baseball coach during any game.

During Saturday’s Four Rivers Conference (FRC) preseason baseball tournament first-round game between the host Owensville Dutchmen and St. James Tigers, that is what Dutchmen head coach Tyler Ahring got.

Hits from eight of the nine spots in the batting order helped the orange and black turn back St. James 13-1 in five innings from OHS Field.

After Dutchmen starting pitcher Landon Valley struck out the side in the top of the first inning, Ahring’s offense went to work in the bottom half of the first.

Derek Brandt got the offense going reaching on an error with one out before his stay on the base paths turned into a quick one.

Gavin Loague drove him in with a RBI triple giving the Dutchmen an early 1-0 lead.

Michael Steinbeck then reached on an error allowing Loague to score and double the OHS lead to 2-0 after one inning.

Valley got into some trouble in the top of the top of the second inning.

A leadoff single and two walks loaded the bases for St. James with one out.

Two strikeouts later, Valley pitched himself out of the jam leaving the bases full of Tigers.

That swayed the momentum fully into the third-base dugout.

Sending 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second inning, the Dutchmen turned five hits, two errors and a hit batter into seven runs.

Layne Evans led the frame off with a single in his first varsity at-bat.

“It was awesome seeing Layne step in there and get a hit in his first varsity at-bat,” Ahring said.

Eoin Krupp was then hit by a pitch advancing the younger Evans to second base.

Batting from the number nine spot in the order, Dezmyn Moore laced a RBI single into right field scoring Evans.

Dutchmen catcher Dominic Grigaitis then reached on an error allowing Krupp to score doubling the Owensville lead to 4-0.

Loague then added to his first-inning RBI triple with a RBI double scoring Moore.

Batting with the bases loaded, Steinbeck delivered a two-RBI single to right field scoring courtesy runner Bryce Payne (for Grigaitis) and Loague pushing the Dutchmen advantage to 7-0.

Steinbeck eventually scored on a Jon Saunsaucie RBI ground out.

Valley helped his own cause reaching on an error before he scored on a Layne Evans RBI single for his second hit of the inning.

“Landon had a great game not only throwing strikes but getting on base and helping his own cause on offense,” Ahring said.

This gave Owensville a 9-0 lead through two innings of FRC Tournament action.

St. James got on the board in the top of the third inning turning two hits and an Andrew Moffet RBI sacrifice fly into a run.

Held scoreless in the bottom half of the third inning, OHS now led the visiting Tigers 9-1 after three frames.

Steinbeck took over on the pitching rubbing for Valley and retired St. James in order in the top of the fourth inning on two ground outs and a strikeout.

Batting around in the bottom of the fourth inning, Ahring’s Dutchmen turned five hits and an error into four more runs.

Loague led off the inning reaching on an error before a Steinbeck single put two runners on base with no outs from senior Eli Wilson.

Four pitches later, Wilson drilled a two-RBI single scoring pinch runner Wyatt Kramme (Loague) and courtesy runner Landon Kramme (Steinbeck) pushing the Dutchmen lead into double digits at 11-1.

“It was great seeing Eli step up with a huge hit in a pinch-hitting role,” Ahring said.

A Krupp RBI single plating Wilson and a Grigaitis RBI double scoring Krupp gave Owensville a 13-1 lead after four innings leaving them three outs from a win via the 10-run mercy rule.

Pitching around a one-out walk in the top of the fifth, Steinbeck closed the book on Owensville’s first win of the season in the opening round of the FRC Tournament.

Valley earned the win pitching three innings while allowing one run on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Steinbeck pitched two innings of scoreless relief allowing no hits and one walk to go with three strikeouts.

“Michael (Steinbeck) will be a big asset for us this season with his fielding abilities at third base and his offense at the plate,” Ahring said.

Loague, Steinbeck and Layne Evans each had two hits to account for over half of Owensville’s team total of 11 hits.

Steinbeck had a game-high three runs batted in (RBI) while Grigaitis, Loague and Wilson each drove in a pair.

Monday night at Union High School, Owensville faced off against Pacific’s Indians in the FRC Tournament semifinals with a spot in the championship game on the line.

Falling behind 4-0 after one inning, Owensville got a run back in the top of the third inning.

Moore and Krupp started the inning with back-to-back singles before a Connor Flynn fielder’s choice moved both runners up a base.

Grigaitis then drove Moore in with a RBI single trimming the deficit to 4-1 after three innings.

Seeing Pacific plate seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Owensville could not string together enough offense in the top of the fifth before falling 11-1 in five innings to the Indians.

Steinbeck and Grigaitis each had two hits for the Dutchmen against the Indians to lead the Owensville offense Monday night. 

Weather and field conditions permitting, Owensville will wrap up the FRC Tournament today (Wednesday) in the third-place game against St. Clair with a scheduled 6:30 p.m., first pitch at Union High School.

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