The Pilot Grove Tigers baseball team kept its title hopes alive in the Central Activities Conference by beating the New Franklin Bulldogs Thursday night in Pilot Grove by a score of 6-2.
Pilot Grove, improving to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the CAC, have only one conference game remaining at home against the Madison Panthers on Friday, Sept. 29th. The Tigers lone loss this fall in the CAC came in the opening game against the Sturgeon Bulldogs.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs, who also doubles as the boys varsity basketball coach, said the most important part of the game is that the Tigers picked up another conference win with one more to go.
“We made a couple of errors early to allow two runs to cross for them, but the guys were able to stay focused and get timely hits with runners in scoring position to stretch our lead out a bit midway through the game,” Skaggs said. “We are closing in on our last week of fall ball and we have something to play for. That is the situation we have talked about and now we are here with one game to get it done. We finish off the fall with Bunceton, Prairie Home and Madison on Friday.”
As for the Bulldogs, they closed out the fall season at 1-12 overall and 0-5 in the CAC.
New Franklin coach Erich Gerding said he was much happier with the overall effort against Pilot Grove. “When we scored in the first it was because we were able to put the ball in play with two strikes,” Gerding said. “After the first, we failed to do that and just left too many opportunities on the bases and did not have enough quality at bats, but our pitching gave us a chance.”
The Bulldogs definitely had a chance in the first inning while leading Pilot Grove 2-1.
However it was pretty much all Pilot Grove after that with one run in the second on a RBI-single to center by Donnavan Gerke, one again in the third on a lead-off double to center by Cole Meisenheimer and a RBI on the ground out by Austin Kollmeyer, two in the fifth on three straight singles by Bailey Quint, Cole Meisenheimer and Austin Kollmeyer and one in the sixth.
The Tigers also had the perfect 1-2 combination on the mound in freshman Bailey Quint and sophomore Cole Meisenheimer. Quint picked up the win by giving up just two runs on four hits and one walk in four innings while striking out five batters. Meisenheimer then came in and pitched three innings in relief and struck out six batters while giving up one hit.
For New Franklin, Gavin Bishop took the loss despite striking out six batters in five innings. The sophomore hurler also gave up five runs on six hits and two walks. Andy Neal then came in and pitched one inning in relief and yielded one run on one hit and one walk.
Pilot Grove also out-hit New Franklin 7-5, with Meisenheimer going 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Quint also had two hits and drove in one run while Austin Kollmeyer added a single and three RBIs and Donnavan Gerke and Luke Kollmeyer each with one single.
For New Franklin, Gavin Bishop had two singles while Andy Neal, Colten Collyott and Tysen Dowell added one single each.
In the JV game, Pilot Grove defeated New Franklin 6-0 while playing three innings.
Lucas Fahrendorf and Luke Kollmeyer shared the pitching duties for the Tigers.
Collecting hits for Pilot Grove were Dylan Schupp, Bailey Quint and Laben Twenter each with singles and Hayden Krumm with a double.