Tigers take second, Indians finish third
School of the Osage and Versailles broke out the wood bats over the weekend as the Indians hosted the Tigers, Dixon and Richland in round robin tournament action.
After all 12 games were completed over the course of two days, Dixon and Versailles finished 2-1 and the Bulldogs took first on the tiebreaker of allowing the least amount of runs. Despite finishing the weekend 1-2, Osage finished third under the same format.
The “Rain Gods” finally smiled upon the Versailles baseball team as the Tigers got to play their first round of games since taking on Skyline three weeks ago. However, the long delay was an opportunity for the team to get closer.
“The guys have relaxed a little bit and have gotten to know me a little better and my coaching style,” said first-year Coach Jason Ollison. “Some of these guys did not play basketball so I did not know have them around. You have to be relaxed to play this game and they are kind of getting used to me and how I like to do things so I’m very proud of the way they played this weekend. They came out aggressive, wanted to play baseball and that is important.”
Indeed, there appeared to be few signs of rust from the Tigers after their long break. Versailles topped Dixon 5-2 on Friday, cruised by Richland 13-4 in five innings in the first game on Saturday and rounded things up with a 12-2 loss to host Osage in five innings.
“When I’m looking at the schedule there are some wins you think you might be able to get. I knew all three of these teams were going to be good teams and to have two wins out of the three I’m ecstatic,” Ollison said. “We really played well. We kind of ran into some pitching issues (against Osage) and we have a conference game on Tuesday so we have to save some arms. This last one did not turn out very good, but the first two games I could not be prouder.”
The first game against Dixon saw the Tiger offense collect six hits and capitalize on three errors as Brayden Morrison, David Connor, Gage Smith, Kaden McGinnis, Colby Boicourt and Dawson Bradley each collected a hit while Morrison brought in the lone RBI. On the mound it was Brett Clemens who threw a complete game allowing two runs on two hits while walking five and striking out four in seven innings of work.
Versailles had no trouble generating offense against Richland with 11 total hits on the night. Bryce Kephart, Bradley and Smith each collected two RBIs while Connor, Morrison and Taylor Dobbins each added an RBI of their own. Meanwhile, Kade Marriott got things done on the mound pitching six and two-thirds innings where he allowed four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out eight.
The final game against Osage was a close one with the Indians leading 2-1 until the host school broke out 10 runs in the fifth to end the game. Morrison had the lone RBI.
“Clemens and Marriott both threw complete games and that is a big deal for us,” Ollison said summarizing the weekend. “We don’t have a lot of guys that can overpower and they just came out and threw strikes. Our defense was really good in the first two games and we also put the ball in play, not striking out a lot, which is a big deal too.”
Ollison noted that his team is fairly young consisting of many freshmen and sophomores, but he cannot wait to see them grow and improve. He is looking forward to what the rest of the season will entail.
“We are patient, we’ll get there and we’ll continue to improve so that is the most important thing,” he stated. “Just keep coming out to the ball yard, try to have fun and try to learn a few things as you go. These guys are so coachable and want to learn so bad so that is what makes it fun for me and I hope that is what makes it fun for them.”
Versailles (2-5) visits Hallsville on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Osage was hoping for some better results over the weekend losing to Richland in a tough 1-0 defeat Friday while topping Versailles in the first game of Saturday and falling to Dixon 5-1 to round things up.
Still, Coach David Flaspohler likes what he sees.
“Our guys are working hard. Their attitudes are staying positive and that is what we are looking for,” the coach noted.
In the first game of the tournament, Richland scored the game’s only run in the third inning while the Indians mustered just a single hit from Trey Rassenfoss. Kody Simmons started on the mound for Osage and allowed no earned runs on three hits while striking out eight in six innings of work.
The second game against Versailles saw the Indian offense come to life as they poured on 10 runs in the fifth inning to end the game with a 12-2 win. Osage collected 10 hits and the bat of Dalton Depeé drove in five runs to lead the Indians while Drake Gaines drove in four RBIs that included a home run to left center. Isaac Yoder and Derek Wickham also brought in runs as well. Rassenfoss got the win on the mound allowing no urns on one hit while striking out five in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Things were going well for Osage in the final game against Dixon as they clung on to a 1-0 lead from the second inning until Dixon tied it in the fourth. Then the Bulldogs added four runs in the fifth to make the final difference. Yoder brought in the only run for the Indians.
“It was feast or famine in between the two games today,” Flaspohler said of Saturday’s slate. “Hats off to No. 16 (Cody Kloeppel of Dixon). He threw a complete game with 106 pitches and held us to two hits. We stranded four runners on base and like I said, it was feast or famine.”
Despite coming up short in two of the three games, Flaspohler also commended the work of his pitching staff as the Indians completed four games in three days after hosting Russellville on Thursday night.
“With the pitching limitations, hats off to our pitchers because they did an amazing job. We are keeping them to the days rest that we need them,” the coach remarked. “We have a conference opponent against Eldon on Monday that we are prepared for and we are ready to roll. They are playing some good baseball right now and it is just a matter of stringing things together... Just keep working hard, keep the energy and attitude up and that is all we can ask for.”
Osage (3-3) hosted rival Eldon Monday night and up next for the Indians is a home game against Richland on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.