The Cougars got going early in response. Gavin Ratermann led off with a single, and advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Devin Smith. Kyle Bray rapped a single in the infield that hit the rip and took a weird hop into the outfield, scoring Ratermann. Noah Powless drove in a run with an RBI single, and Brett Harmeier worked a two-out, bases-loaded walk to make it 3-1 heading to the second.
All three runs came off Scott Rentfrow, who was pulled from the mound after the first inning. Alex Hoelscher came in to pitch and blanked the Cougars for five innings.
“We talked all week, and Scotty’s been one of our most consistent pitchers,” said St. Anthony coach Kenny Koenig. “He led us through a few big games this year, we thought we’ll give him the start. They hit him well.”
St. Anthony would only put two men in scoring position between the second and fifth, with an Austin Bushur double and Lorenz reaching third with an infield single and a pair of stolen bases.
Still, like the rest of the game, Ross came up big when necessary, especially with Lorenz on third in the fifth inning, striking out Neil Williams and Bushur to end the frame.
“He texted me this morning, saying ‘I want to play. I want this,’” Jones said.
After five first inning hits, South Central mustered just three off Hoelscher over the game’s final five innings, with no runner advancing past second base.
“We decided to get Hoelscher in there, and he threw real well,” Koenig said. “I’m glad to see him throw well.”
Bushur was 2-for-4 with a double, Lorenz was 1-for-3 with a run, while Hoelscher and Puckett each went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Hoelscher also tossed five shutout innings with three hits, one walk and six strikeouts.