St. Anthony’s Logan Antrim’s rocky third inning, where he allowed five runs to South Central giving them a 6-3 advantage, would have in the past knocked him out of the game due in part as he said ‘a shaky mental game’. His teammates clawed back scoring two in the top of the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth, and Antrim retired the Cougars top three hitters on strikeouts to garner an 8-7 National Trail Conference tournament semifinal victory.
“Ive been shaky lately as far as my mental game goes. It’s one of those things that (St. Anthony graduate) Ben Hecht and Coach Kreke have been talking to me about. Control the controllables, he said. “Next play give them another one. I haven’t been trusting into that. And I did today. It really helped. If it wasn’t for them coaching me up with that, I would’ve been out in the third inning off the first home run.”
The Bulldogs took a 3-1 lead into the third inning, where it vanished. Ethan Dunn reached on a walk, and Chase Thompson singled advancing Dunn to second. Antrim walked Beau Joliff to load the bases for Sebastian Cowger who singled to centerfield scoring two.
Aiden Dotson, drilled a home run over the left field wall, feet from where older brother Chase hit his in the first inning, giving South Central a 6-3 lead.”
The Bulldogs answered with two of their own in fourth and another in the fifth, tying the game at six, before a wild sixth inning that saw St. Anthony score two runs without putting the ball in play.
Brody Niebrugge took a walk followed by Will Hoene. Niebrugge advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on another, as Brock Jansen, pinch running for Hoene, moved to second on the wild pitch. Jansen advanced to third on another wild pitch and then scored on a pass ball giving the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead.
“Nothing gets ever by him(Sebastian Cowger) and it just happened to in that particular inning,” Curt Jones, said. “I’m not going to blame the game on that particular inning because there are other things that could’ve made a difference.”
It’s the second time in a matter of days that both teams combined for almost 20 runs.
“It was a pretty wild game. I think both teams can sit back and say if we could’ve done this or that. They ended up on the winning end of that,” he said. “But if they would’ve lost they would’ve been sitting around like I am saying there are so many things that could’ve made a difference in the game.”
Antrim, resuming pitching for the Cougars bottom seventh said Kreke never mentioned replacing him.
“No, from the get-go he said this was my game. I took the team on my back and got the job done,” he said.
As the umpire called Chase Dotson out on a strike three call, Antrim circled the mound pumping his fist at the sky.
“The first one(homer), I threw him a slider,” Antrim said. “I was trying to put it a bit more on his hands but he got his bat out. It was a good hit. They’re both tremendous players. I tip my hat to Chase. He battles. His little brother, Aiden, battles. Their team battles. It’s a well-coached ball club.”
Kreke said he didn’t see anything to warrant a change on the mound.
“After they took the lead there, I told him ‘Hey this is your game. I’m not seeing anything for me to take you out.,” he said. “He had good velocity. He left a changeup and a few off-speeds off and that’s where their home runs came from. I mean that’s baseball. For him to fan the side on their one, two, and three (hitters) that was impressive. Im really excited for our team and what we can do.”
Jones told his team that in essence that was baseball.
It sucks to lose. There were so many things that happened in this game that went in our favor. It’s usually pitching and defense in games like this and we had to be at the top of our game,” he said. “They got some timely hits that gave them the lead. And Logan pitched a heckuva game. He was tough on our two and three hitters and we count on.”
The only defensive miscue by the Bulldogs’ was Colton Fearday’s error at first that Kreke chalks up to a part of the game and his only one of the season.
“Im glad to be on this side of it. Sometimes we get in that jam there we’d have pass balls and wild pitches. We’re gaining experience as each game goes. These freshmen came through. Will Hoene is a sophomore and came through behind the plate. He called a great game and blocked a few balls. There weren’t any pass balls or wild pitches on our side and that’s good to see.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Altamont Friday at 4 p.m. to face the Indians for the National Trail Conference tournament championship.