The Pilot Grove Tigers baseball team had the Santa Fe Chiefs right where they wanted them while leading 2-1 after six innings Friday night in the season opener at Pilot Grove.
While never surrendering the lead from the first inning on through six, the Tigers seemed destined to come away with their first win of the 2017 season.
However in the seventh inning, Santa Fe exploded for four runs en route to a 5-2 victory.
Despite the loss, Pilot Grove coach Dillon Yung said this was a good game to open the year against a very good Santa Fe team.
“We got things going early taking the lead 1-0 in the first inning,” Yung said. “We also got a great four innings of pitching from Brady Rentel, who struck out 10 batters. Cole Meisenheimer pitched the final three innings, striking out six while giving up five runs. We did have a few bright spots offensively with Brady Rentel’s two hits and an RBI double from Austin Kollmeyer in the bottom of the sixth to put us up 21. Errors and walks essentially became too much for us at the end. We were up 2-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh when Santa Fe hit a bases clearing three-run triple to take the lead. All in all, though, this wasn’t too bad of a first game for us against a very good team and look forward to getting back and facing a good New Franklin team on Tuesday night.”
Santa Fe also out-hit Pilot Grove in the game 5-3.
As for the pitching, Carson Graf picked up the win on the hill for Santa Fe while Cole Meisenheimer took the loss for Pilot Grove. Graf pitched the first-four innings and struck out 10 batters while giving up one run on one hit and three walks.
As for Meisenheimer, the freshman hurler pitched three innings in relief of starter Brady Rentel and gave up five runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six. Rentel pitched the first four innings and struck out 10 batters while giving up just one hit and four walk.
Despite the errors on defense and pitching woes late, Pilot Grove still led Santa Fe 1-0 through five. However, in the top-half of the sixth, the Chiefs rallied back with one run to tie the game at 1-all. Then, after Pilot Grove plated another run in the bottom-half of the sixth to go up 2-1, Santa Fe came back and put up four more runs in the seventh for the victory.
Alex Smith led the hitting attack in the game for Santa Fe with a single, double, triple and three RBIs. Dobber Burton and Jared Rieves each had one hit.
For Pilot Grove, Rentel went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Austin Kollmeyer was 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI.
In the JV game, Pilot Grove defeated Santa Fe 5-1 in three innings.
Kealin Vinson and Austin Kollmeyer shared the pitching duties for Pilot Grove.
Layton Streck had the only hit in the game for the Tigers.
Pilot Grove will play next on Tuesday, March 21st in New Franklin starting at 5 p.m.