Trailing by three runs after the first half inning, Trinity Lutheran’s baseball fell behind early and needed to dig themselves out of a hole.
That hole proved too deep.
The Cougars weren’t able to overcome the early deficit, falling 6-1 to Northeast Dubois in the Class A Loogootee Regional semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
With the first pitch of the game, the Jeeps (20-6) got on base with a single.
Following a ground out, Owen Fuhrman hit an RBI single to the right gap to put the Jeeps up 1-0 on the Cougars (14-9)
The Jeeps added a single and were able to get runners on second and third bases when Case Eisenhuit hit a 2 RBI single to left field.
In their first at-bats, the Jeeps scored three runs on four hits.
“Unfortunately, in the first inning, they found spots,” Trinity coach Matt VonDielingen said. “They had ground balls that poked through holes and liners that dropped in front of outfielders.”
Trinity’s Kendall White got on base with a single, but was left stranded.
Dubois managed two hits, and Trinity had one from Nick Mensendiek, but neither team scored in the second inning.
Two on base, with two strikes and two outs, Reece Helming pushed the Jeeps’ advantage to 4-0 with an RBI single to left field.
The Cougars responded with hits from White and Jake Moore, but couldn’t push a run across home plate in the bottom of the third inning.
Moore replaced Jacob VonDielingen in the fourth inning on the mound.
The Jeeps scored on an errant throw to first base off contact and added another on another RBI single from Fuhrman to lead 6-0 at the midpoint in the fourth inning.
“They had good, timely hits on their side,” coach VonDielingen said. “They didn’t tattoo it, but they put it in play and made the most out of it.”
Chandler Reyonlds and Sam Marksberry had hits in the bottom of the inning, but the Cougars again couldn’t capitalize.
“We just couldn’t get timely hits,” coach VonDielingen said. “We would get some back-to-back and then stop. Or we would have them with two outs. We just couldn’t get that big inning that we usually we’re adept at.”
After holding the Jeeps scoreless in the top half, the Cougars finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning.
VonDielingen got on base with a double and Moore was walked with one out.
Following a steal by VonDielingen, the Jeeps’ catcher attempted to pick off Moore, who was attempting to steal second.
With the ball at second base, and Moore declared safe, VonDielngen scored a run across to cut the deficit to 6-1.
For the first time in the game, the Jeeps went down in order in the sixth inning.
Unfortunately for Trinity, they mirrored the Jeeps and didn’t get on base.
The Cougars were able to keep the Jeeps out of scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t get a hit in the span.
The Jeeps out-hit the Cougars 9-7 in the game.
Peyton Hurt was the winning pitcher, going the distance with seven strikeouts.
Trinity will graduate seven seniors from their 13-man roster: Sam Crick, Ross Kruse, Aaron Bowers, Marksberry, White, Mensendiek and Moore.
“We wouldn’t have gotten this far, and probably not had a winning season, without (the seniors),” coach VonDielingen said. “They have done such a great job. You just can’t say enough about the leadership, effort, ability and talent they’ve brought. It’s been a pleasure to coach them and enjoyment for me to have the opportunity.”
Northeast Dubois faced Lanesville, who defeated Loogootee 6-0 in the early semifinals game, in the championship game later Saturday night.