Pilot Grove crushes opponents

By Kyle Smith Democrat Sports Editor

March 30, 2014

WINDSOR — Trenton Young and the Pilot Grove offense appeared to be in midseason form Saturday.

The Tigers erupted for 33 runs in two wins in a prep baseball tripleheader. They beat Wellington-Napoleon 15-1 in five innings and then routed Windsor 18-0 in five innings to improve to 2-1. Windsor beat Wellington 3-1 in the other game.

Pilot Grove scored nine runs in the first inning and cruised past Wellington, and scored in all five innings to beat Windsor.

The Tigers piled up 15 hits against Windsor pitchers Trenton Johnson and Zac Allen.

Catcher Jon Gerke went 2 or 2 with three RBIs that included a three-run triple in the four-run first inning. Leadoff batter Colton Glenn went 2 for 2 with a two-run double in the seven-run third inning. Regan Meisenheimer and Isaac Lorenz each had two hits and two runs scored. Meisenheimer drove in Lorenz with a triple in the second for a 5-0 lead.

“We did stroke the ball pretty well,” Pilot Grove coach Clint Poulsen said. “I was telling them after the game that I was impressed with two things: the way we stayed through the ball, and hit it back up the middle and to the opposite field quite a few times. Usually, that means you’re seeing the ball pretty well. We had quite a few real hard line drives, especially with the first group that was out there, even when we got in our second group, we had a couple of guys with nice base hits.”

Both teams substituted liberally in the fourth and fifth innings after the Tigers took a 12-0 lead.

Poulsen liked his team’s approach at the plate.

“We really try to take a team approach to hitting. One thing we’ve really worked on at the beginning of the season is situational hitting,” Poulsen said. “For example, with our No. 3 hitter (Felten), he grounded out to shortstop but it was with a runner at third, so you know it’s an RBI. Just little things like hitting behind the runner when we’re at first base. We do work on it in practice, and we’re not great at it but we’re getting better at it. I thought we did a good job today of putting the ball in play.”

Keaton Vollrath’s ground out to shortstop gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the first. A sacrifice to first base moved Lorenz to second base. Felton’s ground out gave them a 12-0 lead in the third. Jake Leverton had a two-run single in the the third.

Pilot Grove took advantage of five errors by the Greyhounds and nine of its runs were unearned.

Meanwhile, Young was mowing down Windsor. The right-hander pitched four shutout innings, allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out eight.

“(Young) threw it pretty hard. He’s the fastest pitcher we’ve seen so far and maybe the fastest we’ll see for a while,” Windsor coach Brad Forrest said. “He threw the ball well and we didn’t make contact on him.”

Poulsen believes that Young, whose fastball reached the mid-80s Saturday, is one of the best pitchers in the area.

“He hasn’t signed anywhere, but I expect him to go and pitch at the next level,” Poulsen said. “The fact that today he was able to have more command of his pitches, that curveball and that change-up he’s developing. He throws hard, but that’s not everything you need to be a good pitcher. He does a good job of keeping it down in the zone and spotting it in and out, too.

Windsor’s Johnson lasted only three innings. He permitted 12 runs — six earned — on 11 hits and one walk, striking out one.

“When it starts snowballing, it’s hard to stop. We didn’t get it stopped,” Forrest said. “We didn’t help Trenton out much. That’s why I got him out of there. I wasn’t going to burn him out with two conference games next week and a district game on Monday.”

Windsor reached second base only twice. Quinten Rainner doubled to lead off the second, but Young struck out the next two batters and retired the third on a ground out to second.

Allen doubled with one out in the fifth, but Brady Rentel, who pitched the final inning, struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Windsor 3, Wellington-Napoleon 1

Windsor scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh.

Courtesy runner Treston Terry scored the tying run on a wild pitch, and Joey Nichols drove home the game-winner with a single.

Luke Roberts led off the game with a home run, but Wellington tied the score with a run in the second.

Rainner picked up the win, allowing one run on six hits with six walks and eight strikeouts in six innings.

Nichols finished 2 for 3 with a run scored.