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St. Elizabeth wins pitcher's duel against Vienna

St. Elizabeth wins pitcher's duel against Vienna

April 14th, 2019 by Jason Strickland in Sports Prep

St. Elizabeth's Coltin Green sprints toward home plate to score a run as Vienna left fielder Spencer Wieberg throws the ball back to the infield during the first inning of Saturday's championship game of the Calvary Lutheran/New Bloomfield Tournament at Calvary.

Photo by Jason Strickland /News Tribune.

Vienna finished with nothing but 1s on the scoreboard in its three games in the Calvary Lutheran/New Bloomfield Tournament.

That was good news for the Eagles in their first two games — winning 11-0 and 11-1 in pool play Friday — but that wasn't the case in Saturday's championship game.

Aaron Blomberg retired the side in order three times and pitched out of trouble in two other innings to lead the St. Elizabeth Hornets to a 2-1 victory against the Eagles in a battle of state-ranked teams at Calvary Lutheran.

"This was the best he's looked all year so far," St. Elizabeth coach Caleb Heckemeyer said of Blomberg. "He hit his spots early and often. He started most of his batters with a strike, so he was pretty efficient today."

The Hornets, ranked No. 4 in Class 1, needed that performance from Blomberg with Vienna's Sutton Hauck keeping them in check.

The lefty made the St. Elizabeth batters change their mindset at the plate.

"We thought we were going to be facing (Logan) Agan, but they opted for someone slower and kept us off-balance," Heckemeyer said. "We had to work for every run we got."

St. Elizabeth's first two batters grounded out before the Hornets got two of their four hits for the game to get on the board first.

Coltin Green singled to left, Dylan Wobbe reached on an error and Brock Lucas brought Green in on a fly ball to left field for a single.

"That was a big first-inning run just to put the pressure on them," Heckemeyer said.

St. Elizabeth only managed one more baserunner until the fifth inning, when the Hornets plated the deciding run thanks to a pair of popups that found a way to drop into shallow center field.

The first was Clayton Holtmeyer sneaking one just over the shortstop for a single. Holtmeyer went to second when Blomberg walked and scored when Green's popup fell just in front of the diving center fielder.

"We tried to find the holes," Heckemeyer said. "Just little dinkers that just went right over the infield's heads and was able to get a run in."

The first and fifth were the only innings Hauck allowed a hit. He finished with seven strikeouts and a walk.

"Mindset-wise expecting to see upper 80s and and then come out and actually see 70s," Heckemeyer said. "Big difference, especially from a lefty. Big adjustment. It took them awhile."

Vienna's lone run came in the fourth when McCrae Fuller was allowed to cross the plate on a balk. Without the balk, there was potential for a play at the plate with Vienna attempting a double steal.

"Other than that the defense was great behind (Blomberg)," Heckemeyer said.

The Eagles, ranked No. 7 in Class 2, threatened in the fifth when Spencer Wieberg and Timothy Schwartze smacked back-to-back singles ahead of No. 2 batter Agan, who grounded out to the shortstop to strand the runners.

Then in the sixth, Fuller and Dylan Buschmann put runners on the corners with one out on back-to-back singles. The Hornets got out of it with a 4-6-3 double play.

Blomberg finished off the complete game with a pair of flyouts and his eighth strikeout. He allowed six hits and walked one.

"Everything was working for him," Heckemeyer said. "Fastball, slider, change-up, split finger. It was all thrown for strikes. The best of his command all year."

To reach the championship game, Vienna defeated Belle 11-0 in six innings and New Bloomfield 11-1 on Friday in New Bloomfield.

Trenton Rowden tallied three hits and four RBI, Buschmann added a pair of hits and two RBI and Spencer Wieberg had two hits and an RBI against Belle.

Fuller picked up his fourth win of the season by throwing four innings of one-hit ball while striking out seven.

Wieberg added a pair of hits against New Bloomfield. Fuller finished with two hits and two RBI and Agan recorded two hits, two walks and an RBI.

Buschmann earned the win, allowing three hits in five innings with nine strikeouts.

After playing three games in two days in the tournament, Vienna (12-5) will play three games in three days starting Monday at home against Newburg.

St. Elizabeth (8-1) will host Calvary Lutheran on Tuesday.

"We're going to look to get ready for the end of the year for that final push and get back to the Final Four," Heckemeyer said. "Get back and finish it this year, hopefully."