Sophomore Leyton Godoyo was filthy after he stole two bases and dove head-first into home during the fifth inning last Friday against Carlinville.
But he was all smiles, because his run gave the Vandals a 10-0 win in the South Central Conference season-opener last Friday.
Good jumps allowed Godoyo to steal both second and third base, and he advanced home after the catcher’s throw to third sailed into left field.
The base running complemented Godoyo’s 3-for-3 effort at the plate. He dashed down the first-base line in each at-bat to beat out a bunt and two infield grounders.
In stark contrast, junior Trevor Montgomery was 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs to left, and four RBI during the game.
“He works real hard,” said coach Luke Hohlt. “He’s got talent, too. He’s a kid who says, ‘Can I go hit during study hall?’”
Those homers may have had less impact had the Vandals not run the bases well throughout the game.
Vandalia players took a total of nine extra bases on steals, wild pitches, passed balls or errors during the game, which helped manufacture several of its runs.
“We have four guys that are really fast,” Hohlt said. “They are going to able to take bases and let us hit-and-run.”
Those four are Godoyo, senior Matt Grove, junior Dathan Berning and sophomore Dalton Wehrle, and they combined to grab seven of those extra bases.
One of them – Wehrle’s steal of second before Montgomery’s first home run – wasn’t planned.
Wehrle had singled to right field, but he did not pay attention to Hohlt’s signs from across the field, prompting Hohlt to yell to him, “I’m trying to give you the steal sign.”
Hohlt then changed the sign, but Wehrle took off anyway and stole the base. Carlinville’s pitcher looked uneasy following that transgression and then gave up the home run.
“I yelled that because I wanted his attention,” Hohlt said when asked if that was designed to distract the pitcher. “I didn’t give him the steal sign, but he went anyway.”
Small communications errors are still being made, but Hohlt believes those will be worked out as the season moves along.
Right now, a big goal is for players to simply learn the offensive and defensive tendencies of their teammates, because most of the players have not played together for very long.
“This team is starting to come together,” said coach Luke Hohlt. “We made the plays and hit the ball. I think's it's going to get fun.”
Hohlt mentioned that he has been impressed with the play of senior Matt Hoffman.
Hoffman pitched well against St. Elmo last week, even though he took a loss, and Hohlt said that if Hoffman can make some starts, it will be a big positive.
“Matt Hoffman does a good job,” Hohlt said. “We need him, and he gave a good performance at St. Elmo.”
Hoffman scored once against Carlinville.
The game was delayed until about 5 p.m. because Carlinville did not arrive in Vandalia until about 4:40 … The Vandals had four infield singles during the game … Junior Ian Murrell struck out nine Cavaliers and allowed just two hits; more than 75 percent of his pitches were strikes … The Vandals did not play at Teutopolis on Monday because of poor weather.
WP: Murrell (5 IP)
LP: Emmson (3 IP)
Vandalia at Mulberry Grove
In a high-scoring affair, the Vandals defeated Mulberry Grove, 15-10, on Tuesday.
The Aces took a 6-0 lead after the first inning, but Vandalia scored in the next six innings to counteract Mulberry Grove's scoring.
Murrell paced the offense with a 4-for-5 effort at the plate, and Montgomery drove in two runs on three hits.
Mitchell Zimmermann, a sophomore, also had three hits for Vandalia.
Jacob Rickman, Zach Heilig and Kyle Bloemker each had two hits for the Aces.
WP: Hoffman (6 IP)
LP: Ketchem (4 IP)
Vandalia vs. Ramsey
The Vandals run-ruled Ramsey last Thursday, 11-1.
Montgomery hit a home run, and both Wehrle and Berning had two hits.
Junior Nick Metzger notched the win, pitching five innings and allowing one run on one hit and three walks. He struck out three.
Freshman Tyler Knisley suffered the loss for the Rams, allowing eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.
At the plate, he recorded Ramsey’s lone hit, a double.