One bad inning cost the Ripon High School Tiger baseball team Monday as it fell to the Laconia Spartans 6-4.
It allowed all six of the runs and six of the nine hits it gave up in the first inning and could not recover.
The big blow in the inning was a three-run home run by Will Mattheis. Hunter Krueger also drove in a run for the Spartans on a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly. Laconia also scored a run in the inning on a passed ball.
The Tigers didn’t go away quietly after that inning as they got three of those runs back in the third inning, when they collected three of their eight hits in the contest and drew two of their five walks. Driving in runs in the frame for them were Cameron Hahn on a double, Dwight Koehler on a single and Max Belling on a groundout.
Ripon then tacked on another run in the top of the seventh on two singles and a wild pitch, and had the tying run at the plate, but flew out to end the game.
Garrett Jennings and Hahn each finished 2 for 3 to lead the way for the Tigers at the plate, while Sam Vanevenhoven, Conor Diedrich, Koehler and Brett Bock collected their other four hits in the game.
Jennings was saddled with the loss on the mound as he allowed the six runs, five earned, on six hits and a walk in an inning of work. Koehler and Ethan Schuld pitched the other five innings and didn’t allow a run on three hits.
Offense comes alive in sweep of Berlin
In the Tigers’ first nine games of the season — all of which were losses — they scored only 15 runs.
Ripon plated nearly twice that number of runs during a twin bill against the rival Berlin Indians last week Saturday.
The Tigers scored 27 runs in the two games, which they won 8-3 and 19-4 in five innings.
Ripon wasted no time getting the offense going as it scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning of game one. It added two more runs in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to take an 8-1 advantage.
“[It was a] nice start, scoring in the first four innings,” Jonas said. “I thought we left some runs out there. Twelve hits as a team is a nice change of pace, plus we started putting a little punch behind the hits with three doubles and a triple.
Leading the way offensively in the first game for the Tigers, which out-hit Berlin 12-7, were Diedrich, Alex Mancl and Schuld as each recorded two hits and two RBIs. Gannon Stellmacher, Jennings, Hahn and Bock also recorded hits, with Hahn driving in a run.
The Tigers did have to work out of some jams to preserve the lead and victory as they stranded the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. In the fifth inning, Berlin loaded the bases with no outs, but scored just one run on a wild pitch as Jacob Riddick relieved Diedrich and helped his team work out of the trouble.
Diedrich picked up the win on the mound for Ripon as he allowed just two runs, one earned, on four hits and three walks in four innings of work. Eight of the 12 outs he recorded were via strikeout. Riddick pitched the final three innings and gave up one run, earned, on three hits and four walks to get the save. He struck out four Berlin batters.
Ripon’s offense really broke out in game two of the doubleheader, and once again it wasted no time getting going. It scored four runs in the first inning, five in the second, two in third, five in the fourth and three in fifth to put in play the 10-run rule after five innings. The Indians scored three of their four runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The Tigers finished the game with 15 hits, with Vanevenhoven and Bock leading the way with three hits apiece. Jennings and Brandon Carlson added two hits each, while Hahn, Diedrich, Koehler and Schuld all had one hit.
Bock led Ripon with four RBIs, while Hahn drove in three runs on a triple. Diedrich and Schuld both homered and drove in two runs, while Jennings also brought home a pair of runs in the dominating victory.
“Berlin ran out of pitching and we took advantage of that, which is what you need to do as a team,” Jonas said, noting the highlight was Schuld recording the pinch-hit two-run home run and that it’s a “highlight of a lifetime.”
Henry Willett picked up the win on the mound for Ripon as he allowed just four runs, three earned, on five hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out five Berlin batters in the game.
Tigers bats silenced by Cougars
Hitting continued to be Ripon’s bugaboo as it managed just three hits in a 6-1 road loss to the Campbellsport Cougars (7-1 overall) last week Tuesday. It marked the third time in four games it finished with fewer than three hits.
One of those hits came in the first inning, when Vanevenhoven drove in a run on a double to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. It was one of two doubles in the game for Vanevenhoven. Carlson recorded Ripon’s other hit.
Campbellsport scored all of its runs in two innings as it plated two runs in the third and four in the fourth.
Diedrich was saddled with the loss on the mound as he gave up six runs, all earned, on five hits and five walks in four innings of work. He did strike out three batters. Jennings pitched the final two innings and did not allow a run on one hit. He struck out four of the six batters he retired.
“Our pitchers deserved a better line score as both Conor Diedrich and Garrett Jennings threw quality innings for us tonight,” Jonas said after the game last week Tuesday, noting it was time for Ripon to get back to basics and it finally had some time to practice after playing five games in the pat eight days.
Ripon will try to avoid allowing a big inning today (Wednesday) and Thursday, when it faces Kettle Moraine Lutheran in a home-and-home series. Today’s game will take place on the road, while Thursday’s will be at Barlow Park.
Both games are slated to start at 4:45 p.m.