With a disciplined approach at the plate, Mascoutah High School senior leftfielder Wyatt Elbe entered the Indians nonconference game with Red Bud last week looking to hit line drives and help the Indians to another win.
What Elbe got instead was a sudden power rarely seen in high school baseball and one that he will certainly never forget.
Taking advantage of a strong wind at his back, Elbe hit a pair of home runs and finished the day with eight RBI as the Indians (13-8) rolled to an 18-1 win.
“I don’t think you can ever expect to have a day like that. I was just trying to do what I do everytime up which is hit a line drive some place and help my team score some runs,” Elbe said before practice on Tuesday. “It’s been a good season so far. We’ve maybe lost some games here recently, but we have a good team. I think we’ll be fine.”
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The offensive outburst, which included a 3-for-3 performance at the plate and a two-run double, lifted Elbe’s batting average to .364 with a team leading five home runs and 27 RBI’s. For that effort, Elbe has been named as the Belleville News-Democrat Athlete of the Week.
Headed to the University of Alabama-Huntsville where he will study Aeronautical engineering and play baseball, Elbe did get a little help from the wind on at least one of his home runs against the Musketeers.
“The first one I hit off the end of the bat and the second one I hit better, but I got a little help from the wind. It was blowing out pretty good that day, probably 15-20 mnph.,” Elbe said. “Ealier this year I hit two in a doubleheader against (Breese) Central but this was the first time I hit two in one game so, yes, it felt really good to have a game like that.”
Elbe’s offensive outburst came as no surprise to Mascoutah coach Don Eddy. A two-year starter, Elbe played leftfield and also was the Indians designated hitter at times last season when he batted just .241.
“We used him a couple of places a year ago but this year he’s batted in the middle of the lineup and played leftfield all season. He’s been much more consistent and just had an outstanding year for us so far,” Eddy said. “He played football and so he is a two-sport athlete. Wyatt is also ranked highly academically in his class and is also involved in several other activities in school and in the community. He’s just a really good kid.
“I’m not sure if eight RBI’s is a school record or not, but to have two home runs and eight RBI in one game. ... That’s a pretty good day.”
A Mascoutah native who began his career playing t-ball as a youngster many years ago, Elbe prepared fot his season by playing with many of his Indians teammates in a St. Louis Summer High School league.
It was there where Elbe began to get stronger and become a better hitter.
“It was a good summer and I think playing together made us a better team,” Elbe said. “Personally, I think I learned a little more about my swing and my approach at the plate. Now if I get a first-pitch fastball in a certain area of the plate, I’m going to swing.
“But I think I’m more disciplined this year. I’m more mature and I’m not swinging at as many pitches out of the strike zone.“
But in the Indians 1-0 loss to Civic Memorial on Monday, Elbe noticed he was dropping his back shoulder when he swung.
“I think the natural reaction when you have a game like I did last week is, in the next game, to try and hit home runs,” Elbe said. “I dropped my shoulder at the plate a couple of times and I can’t do that. I just need to continue to hit line drives, get on base, drive in runs and help us win games.”
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at email@example.com or 618-239-2661.