Calvary rolls past Versailles in 14-4 victory in five innings

It was one of those moments that can be deflating.

Just three outs away from beating the Versailles Tigers by the run rule, the Calvary Lutheran Lions gave up three runs in the top of the fifth to see their lead cut to 11-4.

Instead of sulking, the Lions got those three runs back without recording a single out and ended the game early by a 14-4 score.

And while it wasn’t the most glamorous way to end it — Cole Duenckel got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded — it was nice to end it early.

“We had to put the pressure on them to get that done, and we did,” Calvary coach Rusty Bourg said. “I hope we can keep carrying that on.”

From the Versailles standpoint, the fifth was still a good inning. After showing very little resistance — Parker Bolton’s fourth-inning home run was the Tigers’ lone run to that point — they staved off the early end by getting those three runs on a two-run double by Darin Parsons and an RBI single by Michael Harlin.

“Sadly, though, that’s been the story of our season,” Versailles coach Ryan Richardson said. “We’re a very young team that has no fight for the most part throughout the game, then in that last inning, can all of a sudden turn it on.

“We’ve been trying for games to get them to come with that hunger, that intensity they have in the last inning and play with that all game.”

The Lions had control from the start, getting hits from the first three batters on the way to a two-run bottom of the first. Caleb Propst had an RBI double in the frame and Bradley MacLaughlin drove in a run with a groundout.

“I think the kids are finally getting a sense of the mental part of the game,” Bourg said. “If you can score and then go out and put up a zero, how huge is that?”

After Versailles went down in order in the top of second, Calvary blew it open with four more runs to go up 6-0. A groundball by Monson drove in the first run, followed by Hance Sommerer’s RBI double. MacLaughlin later added an RBI single and Trevor Dusheke drove in the last with a bases-loaded walk.

That was enough to chase Bolton, the starter for Versailles, after just 12⁄3 innings. He gave up six runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked four and four of the five outs he recorded came via strikeout.

“He’s an all-conference player for the last three years and that was really just an unusual outing for him,” Richardson said. “I noticed it on the first two pitches warming him up, his velocity was way down. I’d say he normally throws at least 10 mph faster than he was today.

“And he was struggling with the strike zone, not missing by much, but struggling all around, inside, outside, low. He never could find that consistent groove.”

Gavin Silkwood followed for the Tigers, giving up five runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks in 21⁄3 innings. Parsons pitched the final frame and did not record an out while giving up three earned runs on one walk and three hits.

Calvary got five runs in the fourth on just two hits, two errors, one walk and two hit batters. Dusheke drove in one run with another bases-loaded walk, Gavin Nutt and Duenckel had RBI singles, and Tucker Ulveling drove in a run while reaching on an error.

In addition to Duenckel’s RBI in the seventh, the other Calvary runs scored on RBI singles from Tristan Clementich and Dusheke.

For the game, 10 Calvary players went to the plate and every one had at least one hit or one RBI.

“I preach and preach and preach that if you put the ball in play, you never know what’s going to happen,” Bourg said. “We’ve been working on it and hopefully it’s starting to pay off.”

Duenckel and Sommerer were the only Lions with multiple hits, as Duenckel had two hits and two RBI and Sommerer added two hits and one RBI.

For the Tigers, who dropped to 2-12, Bolton racked up three hits and one RBI and Johnathon Cunningham chipped in with a pair of hits.

“We have primarily freshmen and a couple sophomores,” Richardson said. “We’ve only had practice outside four times this year. That’s something those freshmen just cannot do without, and that’s where it’s hurting them. We just have to stay patient with it.”

Wyatt Archer got the win, pitching the first four-plus innings. He gave up all four runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out four. Beau Monson followed and gave up two hits while striking out two.

Perhaps most importantly, the two combined to give up just one walk.

“I tell the kids if you can limit the free runners to one every three innings, that pays off,” Bourg said.

The Lions (6-6) return to action Saturday at Belle for doubleheader with Belle and Cuba.

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