ST. MARYS — The Orient-Macksburg Bulldogs started Thursday’s contest against Class 1A eighth-rated Martensdale-St. Marys full of energy and intensity.
And the Bulldogs came out swinging, not backing down from the Blue Devils.
But, the defending state champions proved to be too strong, running away with a 19-0 win in four innings over Orient-Macksburg.
“I thought they brought the energy and intensity there to start the game, and that was big for even our guys to kind of see exactly what it should be,” Martensdale-St. Marys head coach Jon Fitzpatrick said. “That’s how postseason baseball should be. Our guys were kind of surprised to see that energy brought. We knew at that point, we were going to have to match that and exceed that intensity they brought.”
A lively Orient-Macksburg dugout filled with chatter turned the volume up even more after eighth-grader Jackson Mikkelsen roped a two-out double off the left field fence in the top of the first inning.
Chantz Davidson then hit a grounder through the hole on the left side to put runners on the corners. But, the inning ending on a called third strike, stranding the two Bulldog runners.
“I felt really good,” Orient-Macksburg head coach Louis Cruz said about his team’s start. “We hit the ball and I just think we got a low strike called on us on that one play, but we can’t let the umpire decide what we’re going to do. I was excited and I was happy we hit the ball. For a young team, they played hard.”
The Blue Devils matched Orient-Macksburg’s intensity in the home half of the inning, however; scoring eight runs on five hits and adding seven stolen bases in the inning.
Eddie Kraber hit a triple deep to right field bringing in one run and Dylan Gibson plated two with a single to right field. Gage Gavin hit a two-run double to center field in the inning.
The Blue Devils chased Bulldog starter Jacob Caviness after recording just two outs, as Jordan Thompson pitched in relief.
Thompson allowed three baserunners in the inning, but got out of it with a groundout. He held the Blue Devils to two runs in the second inning.
But, things got out of hand again in the third inning. Three Bulldog errors, combined with a three-run triple by Kraber and a single and triple in the inning by Luke Anctil to plate two more runs helped Martensdale-St. Marys rack up nine runs in the inning.
The Bulldogs went three up, three down in the top of the fourth, ending the game by the mercy rule, bringing a tough end to Orient-Macksburg’s season at 10-14.
“Well I told them that you went out there and you played your hardest,” Cruz said. “It’s not like we gave up. They hit the ball really good. Our pitchers threw strikes and they just hit the ball.
“That’s something we’ve got to build on,” he continued. “We’ve got five eighth graders out there and the eighth graders hit the ball today, and everybody stepped up. We just have to build on that stuff. They see the way these kids play. They want to be in the same spot as these guys, so they’re going to work hard. They’re a hungry group.”
The game marked the final appearance in a Bulldog uniform for Caviness, the lone senior on the team.
“I appreciate all the hard work these young guys did for us this year,” Cruz said. “And the parents. The parents were just great this year, helping us fix things up at the park. And the school did a lot of good things at our field. I appreciate everybody’s help.”
Martensdale-St. Marys (28-9) advances to take on Lenox 7 p.m. Saturday in St. Marys for the District 13 crown.
“They have a very talented shortstop and pitcher in Mason Peterson and a very talented sophomore in Caleb Lange, and a couple of very good athletes at the top of their order,” Fitzpatrick said. “They can swing the stick and they have some very good pitching on top of it. It should be a very good game.”
Martensdale-St. Marys 19, Orient-Macksburg 0
R H E
O-M 000 0 — 0 2 5
MSM 829 x — 19 10 0
Jacob Caviness 0K 2BB 1HBP, Jordan Thompson (1) 0K 5BB 3HBP and Jackson Mikkelsen. Trent Verwers 4K 0BB, Miller Hatcher (4) 2K 0BB and Luke Anctil, Noah Catron (4). W — Verwers. L— Caviness. HR — none. 3B — MSM: Eddie Kraber 2, Anctil 1. 2B — OM: Mikkelsen 1. MSM: Gage Gavin 1. RBI — MSM: Kraber 4, Gage Gavin 2, Dylan Gibson 2, Anctil 2, Garrett Gehringer 2. Multiple hitters — MSM: Anctil 3, Kraber 2.