BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – Several key dropped fly balls cursed the Holy Trinity Catholic baseball team Tuesday night in West Point.
The Keokuk Chiefs came into South Park field and their had share of blunders, as well, in an 11-5 win over the boys in blue.
The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first inning when senior Gavin Thompson singled and advanced to second on an error. He moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Patterson and then scored when Brendin Davis hit a grounder out to short.
The Crusaders got on the board in the second inning and took the only lead of the game when Aiden Alfred and Collin Thornton both scored. Alfred hit a one-out double to left field and scored on a Cameron Bahl single up the middle. Vasin Thurman then reached when Keokuk shortstop Patterson muffed a grounder that scored Thornton. Nathan Bredemeyer hit a grounder back to the pitcher to retire the side.
Keokuk took the lead for good in the third inning. HTC starter Cole Thornton plunked Dalton Boecker in the back and then gave up back-to-back singles scoring Boecker. The Chiefs Reade Reiter layed down a bunt squeezing in Tyler Prewitt who was on the run from third. An error by Thornton on a hard grounder to short plated Thompson for the Chiefs’ third run of the inning.
Ben Tinguely reached to lead off the bottom of the second on an error by Patterson at short and then stole second. After Quentin Schneider fanned at the bottom of the lineup, Reed Fehseke lined a single to center that got past the Chiefs centerfielder and allowed Tinguely to score from second. Fehseke was caught stealing and Alfred grounded out to the third to halt the momentum with the Crusaders down 4-3.
After Keokuk put up another run in the top of the third, HTC countered with a run of their own in the bottom half when Collin Thornton reached on a hit to left that was bobbled allowing him to land at second. Kyle Bredemeyer knocked him in with a single up the center of the field. Keokuk tacked on another run in the top of the fourth when junior Jake Jones hit one about 340 feet out to right field for a home run off HTC starter Cole Thornton.
Tinguely scored for the Crusaders with a single and a stolen base and then scored when Fehseke grounded out to short and the Crusaders trailed 6-5.
The floodgates opened in the top of the fifth where the Chiefs scored three runs with two outs including two runs after a pop fly was dropped in foul territory in front of the Crusaders’ dug out in what would have been the third out. In the same inning another popup was dropped at the mound after Fehseke made a valiant effort coming in from 3rd base to try and make the play between Cole Thornton, Cameron Bahl, and Collin Thornton. Cole Thornton then got Patterson to ground out to end the inning.
The Crusaders went 1-2-3 in their half of the fifth on three consecutive pop outs to each Keokuk outfielder. But Jason Thurman came in in relief and slammed the doors on Keokuk going 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. HTC had something going to start the 6th when Vasin Thurman and Nathan Bredemeyer both were walked and then Tinguely came up with another hit and the bases were loaded. But Schnieder fanned and Fehseke flied out to second on a sharp line drive that fooled Bredemeyer who wandered too far off second and was thrown out trying to tag up to end the inning.
Keokuk put up two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh and the Crusaders couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the seventh. Bredemeyer and Bahl reached with back-to-back hits but Vasin Thurman hit a grounder that Keokuk’s Matt Wyatt gobbled up and stepped on second to end the threat and the game.
The Crusaders are now 2-13 on the season and host Cardinal of Eldon on Thursday and Columbus Junction on Monday.