New Franklin baseball coach Erich Gerding couldn’t have been happier with his pitchers in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the Bunceton Dragons.
While the Bulldogs have had their share of ups and downs this season, Gerding had to be ecstatic with pitchers Andy Neal and Gavin Bishop, who combined for a four hitter through seven innings.
“It always starts on the mound and Andy gave us a great effort, followed by Gavin, who closed very efficiently,” Gerding said. “We stayed in the habit of leaving runners on until the fifth when led off with a walk, followed by a single by Colten Collyott and a perfect sacrifice bunt by Gavin. Avery Lauer then came through with a single through the hole, and then Dustin Mehrhoff hit a huge two RBI single to give us the lead. While I would love to see us handle the bat better, I am very proud of these guys and glad to see them get a win they deserve.”
Although both teams combined for only nine hits in the ballgame, Bunceton took the lead with one run in the top-half of the fourth. One inning later, New Franklin countered with a two-run fifth inning to go up 2-1. The Bulldogs never trailed after that while holding Bunceton scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings.
Bunceton coach Tony Turner said this game was the battle of the pitchers. “Each pitcher was tough on the batters and New Franklin’s defense was tough against Bunceton,” Turner said. “Bunceton hit the ball hard this game but a New Franklin player was right there to catch each hit. Rylee Knapheide pitched a near perfect game. A walk and a hit separated the Dragons from the win column.”
Andy Neal picked up the win on the mound for New Franklin while Riley Knapheide took the loss for Bunceton, who has now loss two straight after starting the season at 3-0. In five innings pitched, Neal struck out five batters and gave up one run on three hits and two walks. Bishop then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed one hit while striking out three batters.
For Bunceton, Knapheide pitched all six innings and gave up two runs on five hits and four walks while striking out seven batters.
New Franklin, improving to 2-7 on the season, out-hit Bunceton with Dustin Mehrhoff going 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Avery Lauer had one single and one RBI while Colten Collyott and Zac Held added one single each.
For Bunceton, Knapheide doubled while Jason Burnett, Dylan Flatt and Dakota Rose each singled.