St. Anthony freshman Brock Fearday was thrown to the wolves Wednesday evening against Teutopolis and made the most of his opportunity.
Fearday pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief and earned the win, as the Bulldogs defeated the Wooden Shoes 16-12 at Teutopolis High School.
St. Anthony moves to 3-0, while Teutopolis starts the season 0-2.
“There are some players you can do that too,” St. Anthony head coach Tony Kreke said. “He’s a guy that doesn’t blink. Tonight was pretty tough. When he pitched against us in scrimmage days, he comes in and competes. He was getting our varsity hitters out. When my varsity hitters are saying, ‘He’s ready to pitch in big-time varsity situations,’ you trust them.”
Fearday entered the contest in the third inning, with the game tied at six and one out with Teutopolis’ Cade Buehnerkemper on first base. Fearday struck out his first batter, Luke Koester, and forced Sam Bushur to pop out on 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
While his off-speed pitches were causing Teutopolis’ batters issues, Kreke said it was Fearday’s fastball that contributed the most to his freshman’s success.
“He was getting ahead with his fastball,” Kreke said. “He was able to command the strike zone. That’s one thing we know with him that he’s going to throw strikes.”
Teutopolis got to St. Anthony starting pitcher Eli Levitt for four first inning runs after the Bulldog pitcher had issues finding his control. He allowed a walk and a hit batter in the inning, leading to two of the four runs.
Kayden Althoff, who reached base after being hit by a Levitt pitch, then scored on a Logan Roepke double, giving the Wooden Shoes a 2-0 lead, while Dylan Pruemer made it 4-0 after doubling in Derek Konkel, who walked on four pitches.
Teutopolis’ defense struggled against St. Anthony, as well, as it gave up seven errors, leading to 13 unearned runs.
Bulldogs’ first baseman Brody Niebrugge got on a base after an error on the Shoes’ shortstop before scoring on a double by Will Hoene. Hoene went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
Angelo Mendella, whose big night at the plate propelled the Bulldogs, then singled to center field, scoring Samuel Link to cut the deficit to one. Mendella finished the night 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
A double by Eli Link then sent two St. Anthony runners home that put the Bulldogs ahead 5-4. St. Anthony dropped six runs in the fifth inning, altogether, to take a 12-6 lead and didn’t look back.
“When a team has a big inning, you have to find a way to answer back,” Kreke said. “Obviously with what we did is what you want to do if they score four, but we scored five. The biggest thing was finding a way to claw back to take away any momentum they just had.”
“They battled,” Teutopolis head coach Justin Fleener said of his squad. “The drawing board is still clean. We’re still trying to figure some things out here and some of the skills they’re trying to do. We’ll keep at it. It’s August 25th. I know it’s easy to say that, ‘Yeah, it’s August 25th, and try to stay positive,’ but I tell kids all the time, ‘Don’t be afraid to fail! Don’t be afraid to fail.’
“I tell them in the classroom, ‘Hey! You have to try it! You have to try to get it on your own.’ If you miss it, high school is a great time to do that. Yes, we want to go out there and win and beat our rivals over there, but what we are trying to do is prepare ourselves for the spring.”