Vandals walk off with season-opening victory

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Winning run scores after error is committed during Vandalia's final at-bat against Lincolnwood

By Andrew Harner

It’s just one game into the season, but the Vandals already look like a different baseball team.

After losing a 1-0 lead by committing two errors in the fourth inning, the Vandals rallied to score a run in both the sixth and seventh innings to beat Lincolnwood, 3-2, in their season-opener.

“I’ve seen our team get in the situation where a team scores two runs and the wind comes out of our sails and we deflate,” said coach Luke Hohlt. “That’s the way this team has been, but today we came through and finished strong.”

Senior Josh Lawson singled to lead off the sixth inning, and senior Ian Murrell added a single three batters later.

On an attempted double-steal, the Lancers committed an error during a run-down, allowing Lawson to score the tying run.

Junior Dalton Wherle walked to open the seventh inning, and he advanced to second on a flawless sacrifice bunt by sophomore Carson Smith.

“He’s worked very hard, and he’s grown some” Hohlt said of Smith. “He’ll get his opportunities, and we will use him.”

After a strikeout, senior Dathan Berning, the team’s leadoff batter, lifted a fly ball to right field, and it looked as if the game was going to go to extra innings.

Lincolnwood’s fielder misplayed the ball, however, allowing Wehrle to make it home for the winning run.

“At the end of the day, we are on the right side of the column, but we do have some things to work on,” Hohlt said. “More live at-bats will get us there.”

Hohlt specifically mentioned that he would like to see more patience from the hitters at the top of lineup, and since they are seniors, it figured that they will do so.

Combined, the top three hitters were just 2-for-9, but the Vandals as a team had just six hits. Senior Ian Murrell was the only player with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3, with a double and a stolen base.

“The path wasn’t exactly what we asked for, but the end result was what we wanted,” Hohlt said.

Hohlt also said that there were some situations in the game where he wanted to try some things, but  his lineup didn’t allow it.

The lineup he employed on Monday isn’t necessarily the one he will stick throughout the season.

“We need guys getting on base. I don’t care how they get on,” he said. “If they get on, we’ll make things happen, but if you’re not on base, you have nothing.”

From the mound, Murrell picked up the win in relief, tossing three innings and striking out five. He allowed no hits and walked just one batter.

Starter Nick Metzger, a senior, pitched four innings and allowed just one hit, which was one of the very few balls that Lincolnwood was able to hit to the outfield.

Hohlt said he very excited about what he saw from both of his pitchers.

Monday, March 19
vs. Lincolnwood
Vandalia 3
Lincolnwood 2
LHS: 0-0-0-2-0-0-0—2-1-3
VHS: 0-1-0-0-0-1-1—3-6-2
WP: Murrell (1-0), 3 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 H, 0 R
LP: Husman, 1.1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB
Offense: Murrell, 2-for-3, 2B, SB, RBI; Lawson, 1-for-3, 2 SB, run; Berning, 1-for-3, 2B, SF, RBI; Smith, 1-for-2, sac bunt; Leyton Godoyo, run, SB; Metzger, 1-for-1, SF; Wehrle, run; Michael Wells, SB.
Record: 1-0