Mater Dei senior Kyle Petermeyer and sophomore Nick Burg highlighted a five-run third inning with run-scoring doubles as the Knights ran their winning streak to four games with a 9-2 win over Althoff Monday at Whitey Herzog Field.
Trailing 1-0, the Knights sent nine men to the plate in the top of the third against Althoff starting pitcher Jack Ysursa. Junior Drew Dant added a sacrifice fly that scored a run and Mater Dei also tallied a pair of unearned runs as it took a 5-1 lead.
Junior catcher Greg Muntan then put the game out of reach in the top of the fifth inning with a three-run home run to increase the lead to 8-1. With junior pitchers Drew Timmermann and Craig Oertel combining to hold the Crusaders (5-8) to single runs in the first and fifth innings, the Knights (6-7) had their fifth win in six games after a 1-6 start to the season.
The Knights, who finished the game with 11 hits, have scored 53 runs in their last six games.
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"I think the players kind of took upon themselves to get on track after the 1-6 start. They knew they were better than they were showing,'' Knights coach Travis Gebke said. "We've got some players on this team who played on the varsity level last year, but I don't think they were used to high level varsity opponents earlier this season.
"They are playing more and in the last five or six games, we're really hit the ball hard. We did that again tonight."
Althoff (4-8) took a 1-0 lead against Timmermann in the first inning. With one out, Matthew Schroeder singled and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Timmermann then walked Ysursa before Josh Dima drove in Schroeder with a run-scoring single.
Dima added a second RBI single in the fifth inning. But it wasn't nearly enough.
"We've done that a few times this year when we've had an early lead in games and then haven't been able to extend it or hold the lead, We're playing a lot of young kids," Althoff first year coach Rich Sauget said.
"They (Mater Dei) hit the ball hard against Jack (Ysusra) tonight. But there were a couple of times where we had some difficulty catching fly balls in the wind."
Timmermann pitched the first four innings to get the win. After allowing a run in the first inning, he retired nine of the next 11 batters he faced over the next three innings. Oertel allowed the Crusaders a run on two hits in the final three innings.