T-town blasts St. Anthony

Effingham St. Anthony’s Andrew Koester makes the throw to first base to try and complete a double play as Teutopolis High School’s Brad Probst slides into second base Tuesday night at Teutopolis High School.

Teutopolis — There are very few good teams that will allow you to play shoddy defense against them and still send you home with a victory. Teutopolis High School is a perfect example of just such a team.

Effingham St. Anthony High School's baseball squad got some first-hand proof of that theory Tuesday night at Wooden Shoe Field in Teutopolis, committing five errors and allowing nine unearned runs to cross the plate as it was handed a sound 14-3 beating in five innings via the 10-run rule.

The Wooden Shoes busted open a fairly close game in the bottom of the fourth after chasing freshman starter Jake Laktas, battering reliever Anthony Hecht and the Bulldog defense for an eight-run inning and a sudden double-digit lead.

That frame featured three consecutive two-run hits from the top three in T-town's order, including two-run singles from Jason Runde and Darren Zerrusen as well as a laser-shot two-run homer from Wade Koester to cap the big inning.

"I've got to give T-town a lot of credit," said St. Anthony Coach Joey Ohnesorge. "They're a good ballclub with a lot of offensive weapons from top to bottom and showed us why they're one of the best around."

"That's a big key to being a successful team, especially at the high school level," said T-town Coach Justin Fleener. "You have to put the bat on the ball and make some things happen.

"We're always putting pressure on the defense when we put the bat on the ball, and tonight we took advantage of some of the miscues they had."

A crueler scorekeeper may have even been inclined to add a couple more errors to the Bulldogs' already high total; it just seemed like no play was routine for St. Anthony all night long.

That's not a good position to be in when facing a team that now has an unbelievable .550 on-base percentage for the season, which has helped T-town to an 8-1-1 record and eight straight wins following a 2-0 loss to Greenville over three weeks ago.

Those circumstances weren't particularly beneficial to lefty freshman Jake Laktas, who made his first career varsity start for St. Anthony and lasted just three innings while allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits.

Laktas came out and gave up three runs in a shaky first inning, allowing a two-run double to W. Koester before allowing the T-town shortstop to steal third standing up and then score on a wild pitch.

That sequence evaporated an early 2-0 lead for St. Anthony, which got back-to-back two-out RBI hits from John Steppe and Jordan Schmidt. Steppe was gunned down at the plate on a beautiful inning-ending throw from left fielder Tim Runde as he tried to score from second on the Schmidt single.

St. Anthony would tie it back up when Danny Winkler, hitting eighth in a juggled lineup, hit a one-out double and scored on Andrew Koester's base hit.

Laktas stymied a T-town rally in the bottom of the second and got two quick outs with a runner on second in the third before more trouble kicked up.

Phil Deters got the two-out rally started with a double to score Rich Borries from second and advanced to third on a miscue by left-fielder Mike Meers.

That allowed Deters to score easily from third on T. Runde's base hit up the middle, and after a Jas. Runde single Zerrusen hit a routine grounder to third that was bobbled by John Steppe and allowed T. Runde to score.

"Jake did an awful nice job on the mound for a freshman," said Ohnesorge. "We just couldn't execute defensively and then our confidence just fell apart."

Ohnesorge said his decision to start Laktas stemmed from some recent struggles by several members of his pitching staff to command the strike zone on a consistent basis.

The freshman did a nice job of mixing up his pitches and sometimes had the Shoes off balance, which was what Ohnesorge was looking for.

"Jake has a good mix of pitches, and I felt good about his chances of containing their offense," said Ohnesorge. "If our defense shows up, we can build up his confidence."

"I was a little surprised (to see Laktas start)," said Fleener. "But our approach is always to put the bat on the ball, no matter who's pitching."

The fourth-inning debacle saw Hecht leave after facing eight hitters and getting only one out. Six of the seven runs he allowed were unearned, however, as errors on Schmidt and A. Koester meant that every run scored after the first out was unearned.

That meant that seven of the runs scored in the inning — including one off of Jordan Schmidt in relief of Hecht — were of the unearned variety.

Deters picked up the win to improve to 3-0 on the season for T-town, allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings in what Fleener asserted was a character-building victory over a good-hitting St. Anthony club.

W. Koester finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBIs while Zerrusen was 1-for-2 with three RBIs. Deters, T. Runde and Jas. Runde all had two runs batted in; Jas. Runde was 3-for-4 and T. Runde was 2-for-2 with a walk.

A. Koester had the only two-hit day for St. Anthony, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. The Bulldogs fall to 4-2 with a second straight loss and travel to Charleston today.

T-town, whose pitching staff has surrendered just 13 earned runs in 64 innings of work, hosts Dieterich Thursday night.

Dustin White can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 123 or dustin.white@effinghamdailynews.com

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