It took the Althoff Crusaders 6 1/3 innings on Monday, but they followed the game plan of first-year coach Randy Wells. And just in time.
Sophomore Matt Schroder put the finishing touch on a dramatic Althoff seventh inning with a run-scoring single off Central reliever Jensen Lake as Althoff rallied for a 3-2 win at Whitey Herzog Field.
Showing little discipline at the plate, Althoff was held to just one hit for the first six innings by Central starter Bryce Harre. But when Rory Keen and Gavin Strieker lined back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Althoff (11-6) had its first — and only —scoring chance of the night.
Harre, who according to Central coach Kevin Crask had thrown only 55 pitches through six innings, then retired Jack Ysursa on a fielders choice for the second out of the inning.
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Jack Toenjes then cut the lead in half with an RBI single and when Harre walked Jake Frazier on a 3-2 pitch, Althoff had the bases loaded.
Crask then took out Harre in favor of Lake who proceeded to walk Trey Mosley to force in the tying run. Not waiting, Schroder lined Lake’s first pitch into the outfield as the winning run scored.
“We’ve had trouble with showing discipline at the plate all year. I know the pitcher (Harre) was throwing strikes, but you’ve got to have a little patience at the plate and wait for your pitch. We had a game plan coming into today and we didn’t do a very good job of executing it. I don’t know why we had to wait until the seventh inning,’’ Wells said. “But I’m happy with how we showed the courage to come back in the seventh inning and win the game.
“Hopefully we can build on this and take it into our next game.’’
A pitchers dual
While the Althoff bats came alive in the seventh inning, the game was basically a pitchers dual betwen Harre and Althoff starter Jake Frazier.
The Cougars (15-6) broke a scoreless tie with a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning and it appeared that the 2-0 lead would hold up as Harre, getting ahead of the Althoff hitters all day, kept the Cougars in front.
“He (Harre) pitched very well. He doesn’t have great velocity but he mixes his pitches well and he gets ahead of the hitters,’’ Crask said. “Maybe he got a little tired in the seventh inning. But we only had him throwing 55 pitches through the first six innings.’’
Frazier was equally effective, despite giving up the two runs in the fifth inning.
With one out, Harre singled and pinch runner Austen Rakers went to second on a wild pitch. Junior Carter Truong then hit a hard two-hopper up the middle that Keen, playing shortstop, made a diving stop on. But in his haste to make the play at first base, Keen’s throw pulled the first baseman off the bag and Rakers, never stopping, scored on a close play at the plate to give Central a 1-0 lead.
Frazier then walked Jayce Timmermann to put runners on first and second. Truong then took off for third base on a steal attempt and scored when Althoff catcher Jack Toenjes throw sailed into left field.
Other than that one inning, Frazier was also on his game allowing just five hits through six innings.
“(Jake) Frazier pitched great,’’ Wells said. “He gave up two runs — both unearned. He threw strikes and was able to keep it close.’’
Crask saw the Cougars offense a little differently then Wells.
I thought for the most part we had good at bats and we hit the ball hard all day — right at them (Althoff). I thought we had a chance to score in the one inning but we didn’t do a very good job of going to the opposite field in one situation. The right side of the infield was open and we didn’t execute.
“In a game like today, you just try to learn from it and get better. Hopefully we’ll come out and play better in our next game.’’