Eldon junior Austin Pipes and the Mustangs came ready to play at Osage Monday night.
Pipes threw six shutout innings on the mound, banged out a team-leading four hits and the end result was a 10-0 win over the rival Indians. As good of a night as it was for Pipes, the junior quickly emphasized that it was a team effort.
“I was not really expecting to pitch six innings, but having the defense behind my back helped me out a lot,” he said. “The offense came through and helped me out too so it was a good all-around team win for us.”
Indeed, there were plenty of contributors Monday night who helped to create the final result. The Mustangs jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning and by the end of the third inning that advantage grew to 8-0.
Eldon recorded 13 hits as a team with all but three players recording at least one hit. Pipes, who was a home run away from the cycle, and senior Jasey Brandt knocked in two RBIs each to lead the Mustangs while senior Adam Neighbors, senior Trenton Kidwell, junior Tate Warny, junior Kaiden Mays and sophomore Dawson Brandt all brought in a run as well.
Eldon coach Chad Hinds said his club had to make a few adjustments at the plate to catch up to the speed of the hard-throwing arms of Osage junior Drake Gaines and senior Derek Wickham, but plating 10 runs was a good sign and he was glad to see his kids rise to the occasion.
“Anytime you get Osage versus Eldon there is always that bitterness between the two so I think just knowing we were playing Osage, they just got prepared to go out and do their thing. We have not played since last Tuesday so having a week off, the kids responded well,” Hinds stated.
Pipes allowed just three hits over the course of six innings while walking three batters and striking out nine. His senior teammate Darian Mergelkamp pitched the final three outs and shut the door allowing just one walk while recording a strikeout as well.
Hinds commended the duo and noted that Pipe’s performance on the mound has been a welcome surprise he is hoping to see continue.
“All season he has been up. At the beginning of the year I knew he would be a spark plug, but he has totally outdone himself,” Hinds remarked. “I think he has pitched 12 innings, and I probably jinxed myself, but he has yet to give up an earned run so hopefully he can keep going.”
Meanwhile, Osage has seen better nights on the diamond after playing their fifth game in five days, but Coach David Flaspohler noted there are simply no excuses.
“We are definitely kind of dragging a little bit, but that is no excuse and we are not going to make any. We just did not communicate today and did not make the plays we needed to make,” he said.
It was a tough night for the Osage bats as Gaines, junior Isaac Yoder and senior Tyler Sanders were the only Indians to record a hit as the team found itself in scoring position on just three separate occasions. On the mound, the duo of Gaines, Wickham and Yoder struck out six batters and walked four.
“The pitching staff did not work ahead today so that did not help,” Flaspohler pointed out. “Yoder came in and did a great job for us of finishing the ballgame. Pipes was filling it up and we were not making adjustments at the plate. To overcome an eight-run deficit after the third inning, that puts a lot of pressure on your offense and we dug that hole for ourselves. We did that on the defensive side and faced a lot of adversity that we just did not overcome.”
Osage falls to 3-4 on the year and moving forward, Flaspohler said the club needs to come prepared.
“We have two more games this week including a conference opponent in California and it does not get any easier from there,” he said. “Either we are going to be prepared, face adversity and overcome that... well that is what we are going to do. We don’t have a choice so their attitude and effort is going to dictate that.”
Osage was scheduled to host Richland Tuesday night and will host California Thursday night at 4:30 p.m.
Eldon picked up its second straight win Monday night and improved to 5-1 on the season.
The elder Brandt, who was sidelined all of last season with a knee injury, said it has been a fun ride so far.
“Coming back from last year when I did not play to having the chemistry that we do and being able to play well together and communicate with each other is pretty awesome,” the senior said. “The rainouts have definitely disrupted our momentum, but all of us are coming out here and working hard every day.”
Hinds said their schedule would not be easy either facing Southern Boone on Tuesday and visiting Linn on Thursday at 2 p.m. However, the coach is confident his guys may be able to draw some attention in conference play.
“Going through it we have a chance to turn some heads this year,” Hinds noted. “Everyone is probably thinking it is the same old Eldon team from last year and yeah it is the same guys, but they have really improved in the offseason and in the weightroom and it is showing so far.”