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Low-scoring affair lifts Eagles

Low-scoring affair lifts Eagles
Low-scoring affair lifts Eagles
Lanesville players Luke Beach, left, and Cameron Harvey, right, surround pitcher Brenden Bube after he worked out of a late-inning jam versus Trinity Lutheran. Photos by Brian Smith

Two hours after the scheduled start time of 1 p.m., Trinity Lutheran took the field a few minutes after 3, set for the first pitch against Lanesville in the Class 1A Loogootee Regional semi-final.
A lengthy game prior, a 11-10 eight-inning win by Northeast Dubois over Barr-Reeve, pushed the start back. Then, three batters in to game two, a heavy rain shower pulled players off the field for a 45-minute delay.
Keeping a loose demeanor in the dugout as the rain filtered down from the skies, Lanesville returned to the field. In a game dominated by pitching and defense, Lanesville took a 2-0 lead on a squeeze play in the fourth inning. The added insurance run proved needy as the Eagles earned a spot in the regional final, defeating 1A No. 6 Trinity Lutheran 2-1. Both teams combined for six hits with Lanesville hurler Brenden Bube holding the Cougars to a pair of singles.
‘We knew that it was going to be a low-scoring game,’ Lanesville coach Zach Payne said. ‘One or two runs was probably going to win it, so the final result wasn’t a surprise to us. We lost to them in a 3-1 game earlier in the year. We expected it to be close.’
Bube continued his impressive junior campaign by earning the win. He fanned six batters and walked two.
‘He doesn’t let the moment get to him,’ Payne said of his ace. ‘He has let that happen in the past, but he’s really grown. If there is a better pitcher in 1A baseball, I’d like to see him. Brenden has done a heck of a job throwing strikes. Everyone knows he’s had great stuff; it’s been a wonder if he’d consistently throw strikes.’
His opposition, lefty Jacob Schult, was steady as well. He mowed through the first two innings without much trouble.
In the third, Lanesville broke through for the game’s first run. A lead-off walk drawn by Tommy Tidstrom put a runner on. One out later, Greg Daly moved Jon Will, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to second. Trinity Lutheran elected to intentionally walk Bube to face Ryan McCubbins.
Fighting off several balls in a two-strike count, McCubbins finally saw one he could square up, sending a shot to center. The single brought Will around from first for a 1-0 Eagles’ lead.
Bube was efficient in the bottom half of the third, striking out a pair and getting Jake Moore to ground out.
Back to the bats, Lanesville opened the fourth with a Cameron Harvey hit over the Cougars’ infield. Harvey went first to third when Noah Jones reached on an error committed by Schult.
Calling for a squeeze play, Payne saw his team execute it perfectly. Tidstrom pushed the bunt up the third-base line, easily scoring Harvey. Diving into first, Tidstrom earned a single, beating out the throw.
‘It was huge,’ Payne said of the squeeze play to give Lanesville a 2-0 lead. ‘The kids really understand what it takes as far as being a hitter, to sacrifice ways to get an extra run here or there. They’ve really changed their attitude about not caring if they get out at first base if it means scoring a run. That’s been a big improvement.’
Jones, however, was gunned down at third trying to gain an extra base on the play.
Bube’s first moment of stress on the hill came in the fifth. Nick Mensendiek drew a walk then advanced to third on a passed ball and wild pitch. The next batter, Bobby Tabeling, grounded out, scoring Mensendiek to cut Lanesville’s margin in half, 2-1.
Bube gave up a two-out single to Aden Jones in the fifth, but the frame ended when Jones picked a grounder at third and threw to first for the inning-ending out.
‘I’m really happy to see when Brenden threw four straight balls in the fifth that he was able to get out with minimal damage,’ Payne said.
A pair of Lanesville errors in the sixth with two outs put Cougars on first and third. With Mensendiek at the dish, Trinity Lutheran attempted a double steal while Bube was on the rubber. Stepping off, Bube ran initially toward Chandler Reynolds between first and second base. Once Sam Crick at third broke for home, Bube’s throw to catcher Evan Peele was in plenty of time to nail Crick. Crick was ejected from the game for not sliding as well.
‘We worked on the first and third balk play all week,’ Payne said. ‘(Trinity) did that to us the last time we played. We knew they may try it if given the chance and, sure enough, they did. Brenden and Evan executed it perfectly.’
The Cougars put a runner on in the final inning with two outs, but Bube struck out Aden Jones to end the game.
‘We did what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks; that’s bunting the ball, running the bases well, putting the ball in play and making plays in the field,’ Payne said.
Enduring a long first game along with a rain delay proved to be met with great mental focus by the Eagles (13-11).
‘I was really happy with our focus after sitting around for about three hours and a rain delay,’ Payne said. ‘Our focus was as good as it could be. I think that is what won the game for us. We took care of the ball and was aware offensively of what we needed to do at the plate.’
Schult pitched five innings for Trinity Lutheran (19-9), taking the loss despite striking out seven.
Bube didn’t start the game on the mound until after the 45-minute rain delay. There were brief periods of sprinkles in the latter innings but never a threat of inclement weather.
‘I really didn’t want to split Brenden’s game up over two days or two hours,’ Payne said. ‘Credit to Brenden, he worked quick and kept the game moving.’
Four hits for Lanesville came from Bube, McCubbins, Harvey and Tidstrom.
The Eagles advanced to the regional championship to face Northeast Dubois.

Lanesville 001 100 0 ‘ 2 4 3
Trinity Lutheran 000 010 0 ‘ 1 2 1
W ‘ Bube, L ‘ Schult.