If the Pilot Grove Tigers baseball team learned anything from Saturday’s games against Versailles and Russellville, it was that they can compete against the bigger schools.
Although the Tigers finished 1-1 on the day with a 7-2 win over Versailles and a 18-6 loss to Russellville, head coach Evan Oswald said his team just needs to tighten things up defensively and stay engaged every pitch.
“We know where we made the mistakes and we will tighten those up,” Oswald said. “This weekend showed us that we can compete versus these bigger schools. We look forward to facing two tough opponents this week. Jamestown and Fayette will give us good games this week, but we will be up for the challenges.”
The Tigers, 7-2 on the season, were more than up for the challenge in the first game against Versailles.
Despite being tied at 1-all after 1 1/2, Pilot Grove pretty much dominated the rest of the game by pushing across four runs in the third and two again in the sixth. Versailles scored its second run of the ball game in the top half of the sixth.
“Luke Kollmeyer threw very well for us today,” Oswald said. “Any time you can limit the opposition to just one walk, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win. We knew Versailles was going to put the ball in play. We really responded well defensively and made some big plays throughout to give us a big win on the year. We had one big offensive inning to really give us a cushion. We wanted to keep applying pressure on them offensively, but they switched up their pitchers and we really had trouble with their reliever. We noticed the struggles we were having offensively, so it made us dial in that much stronger defensively. It was a great win for us and gave us some extra confidence by beating a 3A school.”
While picking up the complete game victory, Kollmeyer gave up just two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out three batters.
Pilot Grove also out-hit Versailles 8-4, with Kollmeyer going 2-for-4 with a single, double and two RBIs.
Cole Meisenheimer also had two hits with two singles and two RBIs while Dade Christy and Dalton Reuter added a double and one RBI each. Bailey Quint also had one single and one RBI while Gavin Shepherd added one single.

In the second game, the Tigers matched Russellville with one run in the first inning and only trailed 8-6 after 3 1/2. But that’s where the similarities ended as Russellville came back and plated three more in the bottom half of the fourth, one again in the fifth and six in the sixth to win by the mercy rule.
Oswald said even though the score ended up extremely lopsided, it was a lot closer than the final score indicates.
“Russellville is an extremely tough ball club and they deserve being state ranked in 2A,” Oswald said. “The team knew we had to be focused every pitch of this game if we were going to give us a chance. Bailey Quint threw the ball very well for us, unfortunately the wind was carrying out. What would normally be a fly ball to right, got caught up in the wind and carried out for a grand slam to open the game up early. Being down 8-1, we showed some true grit. We rallied back with five runs in the fourth and had all the momentum going forward. Unfortunately, we made a couple key errors in the bottom half to kill all of our momentum. Russellville took advantage of our miscues and capitalized heavily on the scoreboard. We never responded back and unfortunately took the L. We know where we made the mistakes and we will tighten those up. This weekend showed us that we can compete versus these bigger schools. We just need to tighten up defensively and stay engaged every pitch. We look forward to facing two tough opponents this week. Jamestown and Fayette will give us good games this week, but we will be up for the challenges.”
Matthew Miller picked up the win for Russellville while Bailey Quint took the loss for Pilot Grove. Quint pitched the first two innings and allowed five runs on four hits and one walk while striking out three. Cole Meisenheimer then came in and pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief and surrendered 13 runs on 11 hits and one walk while striking out four batters.
Russellville also out-hit Pilot Grove 15-7 with five different players collecting multiple hits.
For Pilot Grove, Quint had two doubles and drove in three runs. Bo Vinson also had two hits while Kollmeyer added a double and one RBI. Meisenheimer and Kealin Vinson each had one single while Shepherd drove in one run.