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story.lead_photo.caption Players warm up in Westphalia on Monday, March 22, 2021, in advance of the baseball contest between Helias and Fatima. Photo by Tom Rackers / News Tribune.

WESTPHALIA, Mo. — The Fatima Comets scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning Monday to take an early lead against the Helias Crusaders.

Six innings later, it turned out two was enough as the Comets edged the Crusaders 2-1 at Lions Field.

"Two is never enough," Fatima coach Tyler VanGerpen said. "At this level, it's surprising a game ends 2-1. I can't remember a high-school game that ends 2-1."

It was the second straight one-run loss to start the season for the Crusaders.

"We didn't do a very good job at the plate," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. "We were just beating balls into the ground, we were taking too many good pitches for strikes.

"We weren't aggressive enough. It was a lot of little things. And little things get you beat."

Dawson Woehr hit a one-out double to start Fatima's offense in the bottom of the first. Dean Hagenhoff was hit by a pitch before Gage Cunningham singled to load the bases.

Dalton Gentges then singled to center to score Woehr and Hagenhoff.

Helias got its run in the top of the third. Sam Wyrick led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Will Herrbold. A single by Alex Loethen put runners at the corners before Wyrick scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Wolken.

The Crusaders had a chance to tie the game in the seventh. Ethan Holzhauser hit a one-out double down the line and left and courtesy runner Billy Underwood moved up to third on a wild pitch.

But a pair of strikeouts ended the game.

"Until we figure out we have to execute to score runs, we have to execute defensively, this is going to continue to happen," Chris Wyrick said. "When we need to make a play, we need to make it.

"We just not playing very good baseball right now."

Evan Kliethermes worked the first six innings to get the win for the Comets. The junior allowed one run on four hits and one walk.

"Very impressed for his first game of the season," VanGerpen said. "He was pounding the zone low with fastballs, then in later innings, he just kept them off-balance with what I will call actual pitching.

"He was mixing it in and out at different speeds."

Kliethermes recorded just two strikeouts. But that was part of the plan.

"We want the pitchers to attack the zone," VanGerpen said. "We want to keep it low, get ahead early and make them swing the bat.

"And it helps keep our defense awake."

Max Buscher got the save for the Comets, working the seventh inning. He got all three outs via strikeouts.

Cunningham and Dalton Gentges had two hits each to pace a six-hit Fatima attack.

Jacob Weaver took the loss for Helias, pitching the first four innings. He allowed two runs pm four hits and one walk while striking out three. Cole Peters pitched two innings of relief, giving up two hits and striking out one.

Fatima (2-0) plays Thursday at Fulton.

Helias (0-2) will play five games in three days later this week in Tampa, Fla.

This article was edited at 10:14 a.m. March 23, 2021, to correct the name of Dawson Woehr.

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