‚ÄčIn spiffy 87-minute affair, Helias
rides Davidson's pitching to win

Loeffler's Link

Chris Leuckel

April 1, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The Cardinals and Pirates played a game of baseball Monday afternoon that lasted four hours, 53 minutes.

Late Monday afternoon, Helias and Borgia gave us baseball like it oughta be. First pitch to last, one hour, 27 minutes.

Yes, the Boys of Summer played 11 innings and the Boys of Spring only played seven, but still --- it shouldn't take 3 hours, 26 minutes to play four innings.

In any event, the good guys won both games.

Zach Davidson tossed a two-hit shutout through 6 2/3 innings and Trevor Austin came on to get the one-out --- and one-pitch --- save, as the Crusaders blanked the Knights 2-0 in a spiffy affair between a pair of ranked Class 4 teams at the Legion Complex.

"When he throws strikes, when he fills up the strike zone, he's tough to hit," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said of Davidson. "They squared two balls up and those were the only two hits they had."

The senior lefthander didn't have his best stuff early, as it took him 46 pitches to get through the first two innings when he issued two of his three walks.

But Davidson (2-0), who struck out eight, finished strong by retiring 14 of the final 17 batters he faced --- and one of those three reached on an error --- before being lifted when he reached the pitch-count limit with two out in the seventh.

"We know what to expect from Zach," Wyrick said. "And it was good to see him, again, not get discouraged by our offense. He still did his job on the mound."

Indeed, the second-ranked Crusaders (8-0) didn't give Davidson much support, as they could muster only four hits and one earned run against Borgia senior Joe Schmidt, a 6-3 righthander for the eighth-ranked Knights (5-4).

"He changed speeds, mixed it up and threw a lot of strikes," Wyrick said of Schmidt. "He did a good job. But we've got to get back to work on offense and not be surprised when a pitcher throws a curve ball to us, because it's probably going to happen a few more times this year.

"We can do better at the plate, adjusting to what the pitcher's doing to us and adjusting to what he has --- fastball/curve ball, fastball/change-up or all three."

Neither run for Helias was what you'd call inspiring.

In the second, a run scored on a passed ball and throwing error on the same play to make it 1-0. Then in the sixth --- an inning that started with two of Schmidt's three walks --- Zach Woehr scored on an RBI groundout by Michael Snyder.

Snyder, a senior catcher, had fanned in his first two plate appearances, but this time he supplied some insurance.

"He's a strong-minded kid, he's going to battle," Wyrick said, "it doesn't matter what happened in his first couple of at-bats."

Helias had a golden chance to score another run in the fifth after Austin's one-out double and stolen base. But on the squeeze play, Dawson Meyer --- "normally" a good bunter, Wyrick said --- couldn't make contact.
The only real threat for Borgia came in the fourth when Louie Eckelkamp doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundout. Then with two strikes, Adam Molitor took a half swing at a wild pitch in the dirt and Eckelkamp scampered home with the apparent tying run.

But instead of running to first on the play, Molitor didn't and was easily thrown out by Snyder.

"He didn't think he'd swung,"Wyrick said, "but he definitely did."

While the veteran Helias coach tipped his cap to both Davidson and Schmidt, he wasn't all that impressed by the overall effort by his team.

And he couldn't understand why.

"Look at this (field), it's beautiful, it's immaculate," said Wyrick, whose team will play in the Capital City Invitational starting Thursday. "Beautiful weather, the sun's out and you get to play high school baseball. If you can't get up for that, then you've got some problems.

"That's another thing we're going to have to address, being mentally ready to play. We as coaches shouldn't always have to get them up and prod them to get them ready."

Good point. After all, it's not the coaches asked them to play for 4 hours, 53 minutes.

Helias hurler Zach Davidson throws a pitch past Borgia's Spencer Hunter for one of the senior lefthander's eight strikeouts during Monday's game at the Legion Complex.