Gehlen baseball fends off West Sioux to earn victory

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Gehlen Catholic’s Connor Kraft makes a play on a ground ball in Monday’s win over West Sioux. He hit a single and double and finished with 2 RBI in the win.

LE MARS — The Gehlen Catholic baseball team withstood a sixth inning rally from West Sioux to hold on for a 10-7 win over the Falcons on Monday in War Eagle Conference action.

West Sioux took an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Levi Koopmans before the Jays took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. A run scored on an error and then a double to deep center field off the bat of Keaton Logan scored the other run.

Gehlen never trailed again and even built up a seven run lead, but never got truly comfortable.

“For the first four and a half, five innings, I thought we played really well. Then it got to 10-3 and it was like we were just going to cruise to it,” Gehlen Head Coach Kirk Kronaizl said. “I knew how they were going to swing it and on a night like this when the wind is blowing out, you never know what kind of lead is comfortable.”

The Jays scored three runs in the third and answered two runs from the Falcons in the top of the fourth with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. The sustained rally in the fourth as the team batted around in the inning was something Kronaizl liked to see.

“The way we did it was how we want to do it, too,” Kronaizl said. “That was good to see that we are growing in that sense. They’re getting it, it’s just we’re putting the pieces together a little at a time.”

The big inning began with a walk to No. 9 batter Zayne Weiland. Dylan Lehmann turned the lineup over by reaching on a fielder’s choice. Connor Kraft pushed the lead to 6-3 with an RBI single up the middle. A walk to Ryan Livermore and an infield single from Ryan Augustine loaded the bases. Logan walked to bring home a run. The Falcons got the second out of the inning on a force at home, but the Jays weren’t quite finished as David Begnoche sent a ball just over the glove of the second baseman to bring home two more runs. Weiland, who started off the inning, added an RBI single up the middle to push the lead to 10-3.

West Sioux got their offense going in the top of the sixth to cut into Gehlen’s lead. Dylan Wiggins started the rally with a double and Mason Coppock followed with an infield single. An errant pickoff throw to first by the catcher allowed one run to score. An infield single for Kolton Koopmans and a bloop single which got caught in the breeze off the bat of Mario Duenas spelled the end of the day for Gehlen starter Livermore who finished with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up all seven runs, but only three were earned.

Lehmann came on and gave up a pair of hits to Blake Van Ballegooyen and Aaden Schwiesow followed by hitting Levi Koopmans with a pitch which made the score 10-7 before he got out of the inning with a fly out to right.

David Begnoche came on to earn the save in the seventh. He didn’t allow a run to score despite giving up a double to start the inning along with an error letting another runner reach. He sent down the final three batters in order.

Kronaizl said his pitchers were able to work out of some difficult situations.

“I honestly thought he (Livermore) did pretty well reacting to the hard-hit balls and settling down. He got good outs and he got ground balls when he had to,” Kronaizl said. “I was really happy with Dylan Lehmann coming in. He’s kind of the forgotten guy in the staff, we don’t use him very often, but he’s got decent stuff. Dave showed up big again tonight. Dave’s making that turn. He’s been great at the plate, but now he’s filling in at the back end with the pitching, too.”

Gehlen improved to 13-8 with the win. West Sioux fell to 9-5 with the loss.

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