LOUISVILLE – North Clay chased Windsor/Stew-Stras' Bryce Bugger from the game in the first inning after four walks led to an eight-run inning that set the tone for North Clay's 12-10 win on Wednesday.
Windsor/Stew-Stras head coach Mike Taylor replaced Bugger with Dylan Ohnesorge with zero outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning as North Clay capitalized for eight runs on two hits and six walks – 12 players batted in the inning.
The eight-run inning was a breakout for the Cardinals, following a tough top of the first when their pitcher Lawson Britton gave up three runs of his own.
Taylor said he'll continue to work with Bugger, despite taking him out of the game early, because Wednesday's game was an experiment to see who else could pitch besides their aceChristian Vonderheide.
“We've got to find guys other than Vonderheide that can throw strikes,” Taylor said. “A lot of these guys haven't had much experience on the mound.”
That was the case for North Clay's Britton, who was making his second high school start as a pitcher. Britton was pulled after two innings, but got the win for the night.
“It's something we're trying with him that's kind of a new thing because when spring comes around we're going to need some pitchers,” North Clay head coach John Frech said.
Windor/Stew-Stras' Ohnesorge settled the game down, retiring six consecutive batters before the fourth inning. He struck out the side in the second inning.
With an opportunity to cut into an 8-4 deficit in the third inning, Bugger led off with a single and Mark Jones advanced him to third base with a two-out base hit; however, Brandon Helmuth grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Alex Allen's solo home run in the fourth inning brought Windsor/Stew-Stras within three runs, but North Clay got to Ohnesorge in the bottom part of the inning.
Six consecutive batters reached base for four runs against Ohnesorge before Taylor came to the mound to replace his pitcher with Derek Moschenrose.
Moschenrose held North Clay's runners on base and entered his first at-bat of the game in the fifth inning with a chance to make a dent in the deficit.
After Bugger and Ohnesorge started the inning with singles and Jacob Kramer was hit by a pitch, Moschenrose hit a grand slam over the left field fence to cut the lead to 12-9.
“I don't think anyone knew he had that kind of pop,” Taylor said. “He's just a freshman.”
Moschenrose finished the game on the mound, controlling North Clay batters. He didn't give up any hits and had two strikeouts in three innings.
An RBI double in the sixth inning brought Windsor/Stew-Stras within two runs, with runners on second and third base with two outs.
North Clay's Adam Cox entered the game to get the save, striking out three batters in the process. That strikeout streak included Moschenrose, who stepped to the plate in the sixth with a chance to drive in more runs.
Cox's strong arm struck out Moschenrose swinging as he stalled any potential rally to end the game.
“(Moschenrose) threw extremely well and I told the guys if we made some plays in that game, even with all the walks we had, we still could've won it,” Taylor said.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windsor/Stew-Stras	310 141 0	9 12 2North Clay		800 400 X	12 7 2
WP – Britton (2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K) LP – Bugger (0 IP, 4 R, 4 BB) S – Cox (1.1IP, 1H, 3 K)
Windsor/Stew-Stras: Helmuth (1-2); Vonderheide (1-4, RBI); Allen (3-5, HR, 3 RBI); Bugger (3-3); Ohnesorge (1-3); Kramer (1-3, RBI); Jones (1-2); Moschenrose (1-2, HR, 4 RBI)
North Clay: Britton (1-2, RBI); McNelly (RBI); Cox (1-3 RBI); Bailey (1-2, 2 RBI); Traub (1-2, 3 RBI); Byers (2-3, 2 RBI); Lovett (1-3, RBI); Warren (RBI)