The Althoff Crusaders made the most of their opportunities on the bases, while their two-man pitching tandem provided few opportunities for the Marissa Meteors.
Althoff defeated Marissa 11-1 in a five-inning non-conference game at Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville Monday. The Crusaders had just four hits, but benefited from six walks and three hit batsmen from three Marissa pitchers.
Pitchers Rory Keen and Seth Bertelsman, meanwhile, allowed just one hit each while combining for eight strikeouts and one walk to help the Crusaders improve to 2-1.
“We had two guys to chop the game up and use some guys who don’t get to pitch very much,” said Althoff head coach Brett Isaacs. “Rory did a good job in his first time out to set the tone and then Seth does what he does, which is throw strikes.”
Keen, a junior, threw the game’s first two innings and allowed Marissa its only run. Nathan Parkinson led off the Meteors’ half with a single. He advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a groundout to the second baseman by Seth Weymouth.
It was the only hiccup for the Althoff pitchers.
Bertelsman, a senior, walked the first batter he faced in the third before striking out the side. He struck out five and walked one in the three innings he pitched. Weymouth was the only other Marissa batter to reach base with a leadoff single in the top of the fifth.
The Althoff hurlers worked ahead of the count most of the day. Bertlesman struck out the last two batters he faced on called strikes on curve balls.
“It makes a big difference when you can get a head on the count, then you can use your breaking ball,” Isaacs said.
Marissa opened its season last week with a win over Madison, but dropped both ends of a double header with short-game losses to Gibault.
Coach Jason Faust started senior pitcher Austin Sinn against Althoff. Sinn cruised through the first inning, then was tagged for four runs in the second thanks, in part, to a pair of errors on the infield. He also walked three during the inning and hit a batter.
Stephen Toenjes had an RBI single to right field and later scored on a wild pitch. Keen also knocked in a run with a groundout to the shortstop and senior leadoff batter Sam Haudrich drew a bases loaded walk.
Sinn allowed another run in the third. Casey Arnold was hit by a pitch to lead off, advanced to second on an error and scored on consecutive wild pitches.
In the fourth, Faust turned to freshman James Inman. The Crusaders batted through the order with three hits and three walks. The Meteors committed two more errors in the inning.
“We had trouble throwing strikes and we brought some other guys in that don’t throw a lot of innings,” Faust said. “We couldn’t throw strikes and couldn’t make the plays behind them either.”
Junior Jake Frazier knocked in two runs with a double, senior Brett Silvestri scored another with a groundout to third and Keen got his second RBI of the game with a single up the middle.
The Crusaders next play Tuesday at Mascoutah, Wednesday back home against Waterloo, and Thursday at Mount Vernon.
Isaacs says his team needs to be more patient at the plate if it wants to keep winning.
“We’ve only played three games and right now our hitters are pretty anxious. We were out in front a lot and swinging at marginal pitches on hitter’s counts — 2-0 counts, 3-1 counts we swung at bad pitches. We’ve got to change our approach and that’s what we talked about (after the game).”
Faust is looking for improvement in every aspect of his Meteors game.
“We had a double header over the weekend we struggled in and today we were a little better, but still struggled,” he said. “We’ve got games coming up Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. We’ve got to find something between now and then.”