Tigers earn outright CLC crown

¦ Rabe’s squeeze bunt gives Tigers title-clinching win
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


HOWARDS GROVE baseball players mob teammate Dakota Rabe after his walk-off squeeze bunt gave the Tigers a 6-5 win over Oostburg in game one of Monday’s doubleheader. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE baseball players mob teammate Dakota Rabe after his walk-off squeeze bunt gave the Tigers a 6-5 win over Oostburg in game one of Monday’s doubleheader. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers wrapped up the undisputed Central Lakeshore Conference baseball title with a thrilling 6-5 win over visiting Oostburg in the opener of Monday’s twi-night doubleheader.

Junior outfielder Dakota Rabe laid down a suicide squeeze bunt which scored Caleb Holzman from third base with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rabe was mobbed by his teammates as they celebrated the walk-off victory. The CLC championship is the Tigers’ third in the last six years.

Holzman was pinch running for Jake Fritz who had led off the frame with a walk. Terry Fritsch then put down a bunt trying to advance Holzman to second. The pitcher overthrew first trying to retire Fritsch.


DAKOTA RABE lays down a squeeze bunt to give Howards Grove a 6-5, walk-off win over Oostburg in the opener of Monday’s baseball twinbill. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley DAKOTA RABE lays down a squeeze bunt to give Howards Grove a 6-5, walk-off win over Oostburg in the opener of Monday’s baseball twinbill. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley The error allowed Holzman to reach third and Fritsch to take second. Fritsch was credited with a single on the bunt.

The Tigers completed the sweep of the twinbill with an 8-5 win in the nightcap to go to 16-0 in the CLC (17-2 overall).

“I’m very proud of the kids. Our next goal is to win the next two games and go undefeated in the CLC,” said Tiger head coach Mark Weber.

“We executed real well in the first game. Dakota did a great job [on the bunt]. He executed it perfectly. He’s one who I know that can get it done. We have executed a lot of suicidesqueeze bunts this year.

“Everybody contributed,” said Weber.

“You just have to stay calm and cool. I was very confident,” said Rabe about his bunt opportunity.

“I knew Caleb had a great jump and I knew I had to get the bunt down. It meant a lot to me [to help the team win].

“I always want to make plays. I told the coach [Weber], ‘I’ll get this suicide bunt down,’ and the coach trusted me,” said Rabe.

“It’s always good [to win conference title], especially going out in your senior year,” said senior Austin Edge. “It’s been a team effort. We’ve got it done all year.

“Gosh, it was awesome [winning at the end]. I’m glad Dakota stepped up and got it done.”

In game one, the Flying Dutchmen tied the game, 5-5, with two runs in the sixth. Oostburg bunched together four hits, including an RBI single by Brett Ebbers.

The Tigers led 5-2 after four innings before Oostburg rallied back. A three-run fourth gave HGHS a 5-2 advantage. Jake Fritz had an RBI single and Fritsch contributed a sacrifice fly in the frame.

Edge earned the win in relief. He pitched the final 1-2/3 innings and allowed no runs on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.

Tiger starting hurler Zach Fritz gave up five earned runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5-1/3 innings. Weber thought Edge and Fritz pitched well.

Zach Fritz led the Tigers’ attack with three hits and Jake Fritz had two. Jake Fritz had a team-high two RBIs. Andrew Reinemann and Caleb Holzmann led in runs with two apiece.

Kyle Swart keyed the Dutchmen’s bats with three hits and Jonny Daane added two. Swart had a team-high two RBIs.

Jake Hurlbutt was the losing hurler. Hurlbutt went the distance and surrendered six runs (five earned) on nine hits wit h six walks and four strikeouts.

GAME TWO

In the nightcap, the Tigers built a 7-1 lead after three and then staved off an Oostburg rally to earn the sweep.

HGHS tallied three runs in each of the second and third frames. Brad Olson and Zac Stauss had RBI singles to spark the outburst in the second. Rabe keyed the third inning with an RBI double and a steal of home.

Rabe sparked the Tigers’ offense with three hits and two runs. HGHS stole 10 bases, led by Edge with three and Rabe and Holzman with two each.

Bryce Hoffmann was the winning pitcher. Hoffmann started and gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 5-1/3 innings. Olson earned a save with 1-2/3 scoreless innings – allowing one hit and a walk while striking out one.

Ebbers and Ryan Hafeman paced Oostburg in hits with two apiece.

Chris Brill took the loss. Brill was the starter and surrendered seven runs (six earned) on four hits with six walks and five strikeouts in 2-2/3 frames.

“Our bench really came through,” said Weber.

“Bryce pitched really well and Brad finished up strong. Dakota is heating up [on offense] at the right time.

“Zac made a real good play on a bunt to get the guy at first,” Weber said.

OOSTBURG
5
5

HOWARDS GROVE 6
8

Game 1
Score by Innings
Oostburg...............010 112 0 – 5 11 2
Howards Grove.....101 300 1 – 6 9 2
Jake Hurlbutt and Jonah Frier; Zach
Fritz, Austin Edge (6) and Travis Stanczyk. W – Edge. L – Hurlbutt. 2Bs –
Oostburg, Jonny Daane, Kyle Swart.
Game 2
Score by Innings
Oostburg..................000 212 0 – 5 8 3
Howards Grove........133 100 x – 8 6 2
Chris Brill, Brett Ebbers (3) and Jonah
Frier; Bryce Hoffmann, Brad Olson (6)
and Jake Fritz. W – Hoffmann. L – Brill.
Save – Olson. 2Bs – Oostburg, Frier,
Ryan Hafeman, Justin Hoffmann; Howards Grove, Dakota Rabe.
___________________________


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