Raiders rally past Elkhart in regional debut

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

ELLIOT VAN OSS is greeted by his Elkhart Lake teammates after belting a three-run homer in Tuesday’s regional baseball opener against Kiel. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ELLIOT VAN OSS is greeted by his Elkhart Lake teammates after belting a three-run homer in Tuesday’s regional baseball opener against Kiel. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley KIEL – The Kiel Raiders scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally past the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah Resorters, 6-4, in a first-round regional baseball game here Tuesday evening.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the No. 10-seeded Resorters who led 4-0 after four innings and smelled an upset win over the No. 7-seeded Raiders. Kiel, 10-17, advances to the regional finals at No. 2-seeded Howards Grove Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Resorters ended their season at 5-17.

Elkhart grabbed a 4-0 lead with four runs in the third, climaxed by a two-out, three-run homer from senior catcher Elliot Van Oss. The homer drove in Stephan Clemens and Gunnr Johnson who had singled and walked, respectively.

The Resorters’ first run scored on Clemens’ single which knocked in Max Kossman who had reached on

_ an infield error and then stolen second base.

Kiel shaved Elkhart’s lead to 4-1 in the fifth on Jonathan Meyer’s sacrifice fly which drove in Trenton Nickel who had been hit by a pitch leading off.

Brennan Cain relieved Resorter starting pitcher Bailey Klug at the start of the sixth. Cain struck out the first batter but the next four reached. Nicholas Walsh started the rally with a bad-hop single over the shortstop. Hayden Smith walked and then Tanner

Woepse got aboard on a throwing error by the shortstop which scored Walsh.

Nickel followed with a walk which loaded the bases. Alex Winkel then hit into a fielder’s choice which forced out a runner at home for the second out. Austin Goehring batted next and hit a roller to the pitcher who threw wildly past first which plated three runs and put Kiel up 5-4.

Goehring scored the Raiders’ final run on a throwing error by the third baseman on Meyer’s grounder.

Kiel had only three hits but drew seven walks, had two batters hit by pitches and were helped by Elkhart’s miscues. The Resorters committed five errors in the game.

Walsh earned the win in relief after pitching the final four innings and allowing no runs on two hits with zero walks and two strikeouts.

“Nick pitched well and threw strikes. I knew I had to go to Nick to switch up and give them [Elkhart batters] a different look,” said Raider head coach Brad Mey.

“They were making great plays left and right [on defense] and it didn’t seem like the ball was bouncing our way until the sixth inning. That sixth inning gave us life.”

Cain took the loss and gave up five runs unearned runs on one hit with two walks and one strikeout in one inning. Klug pitched the first five frames and surrendered one earned run on just two hits but walked five and hit two batters while striking out none.

Alex Winkel was Kiel’s starting pitcher and gave up four runs (all unearned) on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings.

Neither team had anyone with multiple hits. Clemens and Goehring had a game-high two steals each.

The Elkhart defense, despite some struggles, did make several nice plays which helped keep Kiel at bay early in the game. The Raiders lost two baserunners in rundowns and had another thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Resorter right fielder Owen Kalbacken made a fine catch of a line drive in the fourth.

The Raiders stranded 10 runners on base.

“We played 5½ great innings of baseball and Bailey pitched terrific for us. He kept the ball down in the strike zone,” said Resorter head coach Davin Hill.

“Elliot had a big three-run homer which gave us a big boost. Unfortunately, a couple of walks and a couple of errors came back to haunt us in the sixth. Give Kiel credit, they kept putting the ball in play and good things happen when you put the ball in play.

“Our pitching and defense struggled a little at the end and that was the difference,” said Hill.

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