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The Vandals overcame a slow start to beat Mulberry Grove in five innings on Monday.
Mulberry Grove got back-to-back doubles from Kyle Bloemker and Alex Goodin to help produce three first-inning runs, but those would be the only ones the Aces would score and Vandalia would have two big innings to win, 13-3.
“Mulberry did that to us last year,” said Vandalia coach Luke Hohlt of the start. “Good teams are going to bounce back, and we were able to do that today.”
The Vandals got five runs in the first inning, with juniors Leyton Godoyo and Dalton Wehrle each driving home a pair of runs. Godoyo’s came on a single, while Wehrle’s came on a triple he hit into the gap.
The big response seemed to deflate the Aces, who had just five more base runners the entire game, but Hohlt wanted to see his team continune to post runs, because he knew that Mulberry Grove coach Cody Hawkins has an improved team.
“There’s nothing better on Mulberry’s schedule than to beat a bigger school,” Hohlt said. “Give coach Hawkins credit, because they work hard.”
Vandalia (5-2) would load the bases in the second inning and put two runners in scoring position in the third, but no one would score.
Seniors Dathan Berning and Nick Metzger each singled to open the fourth inning, and after Godoyo laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, Wehrle was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Junior Michael Wells reached on an error to bring home a run, and senior Josh Lawson singled in the next at-bat to score another.
Ian Murrell, a senior who started and picked up the win for the Vandals, rifled a single to left-center field to bring home two more runs before sophomore Carson Smith walked.
Then came the big hit.
Senior Trevor Montgomery hit his second home run of the season over the left field fence to move the Vandals ahead by nine. The 10-run lead was established when Berning scored for the second time in the inning.
“Our team is capable of hitting the ball in the gaps,” Hohlt said. “We can spread the ball all over the field. It’s just trusting yourself, even when you’re losing 3-0 (after the first inning).”
Montgomery closed out the game with two strikeouts in the top of the fifth.
Now, the Vandals will have to face some stiff competition for the rest of the week, with Breese Central on Wednesday, Pana on Friday and a doubleheader with Okawville on Saturday.
But Hohlt said getting the team’s record to 5-2 with a win prior to those challenges was a good thing.
“You better believe I’ll take that every time,” Hohlt said. “This is a tough week for us, but hopefully it’ll be some good days for us.”
Tuesday, April 3
WP: Murrell (4-0); 4 IP, 3 K, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB
LP: Bloemker; 1 2/3 IP, 2 K, 5 ER, 3 H, 6 BB
Vandals: Montgomery, 2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, run; Wehrle, 1-for-2, 3B, 2 RBI, run; Murrell, 2-for-4, 2 RBI, run, SB; Metzger, 2-for-2, 2 runs; Lawson, 2-for-2, RBI, run, 2 SB; Godoyo, 1-for-2, 2 RBI, run; Berning, 1-for-3, 2 runs; Smith, 2 runs; Michael Wells, run; Colin Ledbetter, run.
Aces: Bloemker, 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, run; Alex Goodin, 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, run; Kyle Miller, 1-for-3, run, SB; Jesse Sloan, 1-for-2; Jacob Rickman, SB.
Vandalia vs. Teutopolis
The Vandals suffered their second loss of the season against Teutopolis on Monday, falling in five innings, 14-0.
The Wooden Shoes went right to work against Vandalia starter Leyton Godoyo, scoring 12 times in the first inning.
Vandalia was limited to just one hit from senior Josh Lawson.
Monday, April 2
LP: Godoyo (0-1); 2/3 IP, 0 K, 12 R, 4 ER, 3 H, 5 BB
Vandals: Lawson, 1-for-2.
Vandalia at Carlinville
Last Friday, the Vandals had a scare in the bottom of the seventh, but were able to fend off Carlinville to win, 6-5, in their South Central Conference opener.
A handful of errors allowed three Carlinville players to score in the seventh, but senior Ian Murrell closed out a complete game to earn the victory.
Murrell also starred at the plate, going 3-for-5.
Friday, March 30
WP: Murrell (3-0); 7 IP, 7 K, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB
LP: Easterday; 5.1 IP, 3 K, 3 ER, 3 H, 5 BB
Vandals: Murrell, 3-for-5; Godoyo, 1-for-2; Montgomery, 1-for-4.
Record: 4-1 (1-0 SCC)
Vandalia at Ramsey
RAMSEY – Vandalia coach Luke Hohlt said playing fundamentally sound baseball to get a win will never get old.
And that’s probably a good thing because after Vandalia beat Ramsey, 12-4, last Wednesday, it marked the third time in four games that the Vandals had played that type of game.
“We played another good ballgame today,” Hohlt said. “We had a little trouble staying patient in the box, but overall, almost everybody who got in the game had a quality at-bat.”
All of Vandalia’s varsity players got into the game, and all of them contributed to the win in some way.
The Vandals (3-1) opened the game with four hits in the first inning, including a double Nick Metzger hit sharply down the left-field line to drive in a run.
Senior Dathan Berning also had an RBI single.
Vandalia’s offense would continue on to score at least twice in the first five innings and once in the sixth to steadily build a lead.
Hohlt credited some of that to his hitters adjusting to the slower speeds of Nick Wodtka’s pitches.
“Good hitters adjust, and don’t get frustrated after they adjust and make an out,” Hohlt said. “You have to keep battling and not try to go home with a hit, but to go home with a quality at-bat.”
Vandalia held a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning, but the Rams (0-4) stayed in the game and got two runs back, one on an RBI double from junior Tyler Pryor and another on an RBI single from sophomore Tylor Knisley.
“We didn’t roll over, and I noticed in the fall, if we got down early, we would give up,” said Ramsey coach Tony Kreke. “Now, we have that fire in our belly that we can compete with anybody.”
Knisley had the best game offensively for the Rams, going 3-for-4, with three singles.
Last Tuesday, he was hit by a grounder while pitching and tweaked his knee, which was injured during basketball season, so Kreke was happy to see that Knisley showed no ill effects against the Vandals.
Tristan Wesselman had an RBI double in the fourth and Ryan Black brought home a run with a single to finish off Ramsey’s scoring off of Metzger, Vandalia’s No. 2 pitcher.
Berning pitched the final three innings, striking out eight to pick up a save. Offensively, he scored three times.
Vandalia junior Leyton Godoyo also had three runs, and he stole three bases during the game.
The Vandals had 25 base runners, but only 11 hits, and to continue winning and realize the full potential that they have, that will need to continue.
“It’s in all of our minds (that we can win some games), but we are trying to concentrate on the task at hand,” Hohlt said. “You win ball games one pitch at a time.”
Wednesday, March 28
WP: Metzger (1-0); 4 IP, 7 K, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB
LP: Wodtka (0-1); 6 IP; 1 K, 11 ER, 9 H, 6 BB
SV: Berning (1); 3 IP, 8 K, 0 ER, 1 H, 3 BB
Vandals: Metzger, 2-for-2, 2B, 3 RBI, run, SB; Murrell, 2-for-3, RBI, run, 2 SB; Montgomery, 2-for-4, run, SB; Berning, 1-for-2, RBI, 3 runs; Godoyo, 1-for-2, 3 runs, 3 SB; Wells, 1-for-1, RBI; Nesbit, 1-for-2, 2 RBI, run; Smith, 1-for-3, RBI; Lawson, run; Ledbetter, RBI; Nestleroad, 2 SB.
Rams: Knisley, 2-for-4, RBI; Pryor, 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, run; Wesselman, 1-for-3, 2B, RBI; Cunningham, 1-for-3, run; Black, 1-for-3, RBI; Davis, 1-for-4; Hunt, run; Strobel, run; K. Holland, 2 SB.