A pitcher’s duel between Effingham’s Will Clausius and Dieterich’s Charlie Thoele broke not at the plate, but on the mound.
Tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Effingham Post 120 got its first run via a bases-loaded, two out balk. The lead would hold up as Post 120’s offense sparked, and Effingham beat Dieterich Post 628 5-0 in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament opener.
Effingham loaded up the bases, and with two outs and Blake White up, Thoele tried to step off the mound. He was ruled to have started his motion and a balk was called, bringing home Cory Osborn for the game’s first run.
“Certainly, it did break through a little bit and got us going,” said Effingham coach David Woltman. “The next inning we hit the ball the way I know we can. It’s unfortunate (to score on a balk), but that’s how it happened, so we’ll take it.”
Effingham beat Dieterich 13-0 last month, and Dieterich was there until the final innings of the game.
“Charlie just made a mishap, he wasn’t comfortable on the mound,” said Dieterich coach Jamie VanScyoc. “Pitching from the windup position for right handers, when you step off with the left foot, that engages the motion. It’s unfortunate he didn’t step off with the right foot.”
Post 120 broke things open in the sixth when Bryar Jansen led off with a single, stole second and scored on a Lane Koenig RBI double. Koenig scored on a two-out single by Caleb Martin. Eli Burhmann brought home two more to open the floodgates with a single.
Through three innings, it was a pitcher’s duel between Dieterich’s Thoele and Effingham’s Clausius, with Dieterich more consistently putting runners on base against the top-seeded Effingham.
In the fourth, Clausius got the first two outs of the inning, then walked Bryce McClain, Paul Thoele and Devin Flach in order to load the bases. He tight-roped out of it by getting Cole Hartke to pop out to Osborn to end the frame.
To that point, Clausius had allowed no hits but walked seven. Thoele was sharper, allowing two singles in the first but keeping Effingham off balance from there.
An error on Martin with two outs in the fifth opened the door for another Dieterich rally. After Trenton Poe reached on the error, Calloway Campton broke up the no-hitter with a bloop single to right and Ryan Radloff walked to load the bases. Clausius escaped again by striking out McClain and keeping the score at 0-0.
“There’s times where you want to nibble and hit spots, but in this league, you’ve got to pitch ahead,” Woltman said. “You’ve got to make that adjustment.”
Martin relieved Clausius in the sixth and earned the save with two innings of relief. Clausius gave up one hit and got the win despite walking eight, as he had seven strikeouts. Thoele allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings, striking out five and walking three.
Jansen went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base, while Koenig and Martin each had a hit, an RBI and a run. Calloway Campton had Dieterich’s only hit of the game.
“We left the bases loaded twice,” VanScyoc said. “We’ve got to capitalize on the opportunities whenever we have them.”
Post 120 plays the winner of Teutopolis Post 924/South Central Post 519 on Saturday at 3 p.m., while Dieterich plays the loser of that game at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Dieterich Post 628 000 000 0 0 1 1
Effingham Post 120 000 014 X 5 7 1
WP - Clausius (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 8 BB) LP - C. Thoele (5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 K, 3 BB) SV - Martin (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB)
Dieterich: C. Thoele (0-3, BB); Cl. Campton (0-3, BB); Ca. Campton (1-3); Radloff (0-1, 2 BB); McClain (0-1, 2 BB); P. Thoele (0-1, 2 BB); Flach (0-1, BB)
Effingham: Burhmann (1-3, 2 RBI, HBP); White (1-4); Jansen (2-3, R, SB); Koenig (1-3, 2B, RBI, R); Osborn (1-3, R); Bateman (0-2, BB, R); Martin (1-2, RBI, R, BB); Clausius (0-2, BB)