- Keith Hjelle
Charger Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Woodward Academy
Neither the ACGC nor the Woodward Academy baseball teams have been involved in very many close games this year, as the two teams have often been on the short end of lopsided scores. So, when the Chargers and the Knights faced one another yesterday in Woodward, it was anybody's guess as to the outcome of the doubleheader. As it turned out, fans were treated to close, exciting ball games that saw the teams split a pair. WA edged the Chargers 2-1 in the opener and ACGC kept its poise to take the nightcap, 7-4.
ACGC was considered the home team in game one, and found itself struggling to get many hits off of Knight pitcher Roy Barker. The senior hurler surrendered just four hits, including only one extra base hit--Charlie Crawford's double in the fourth inning. Crawford came around to score on Miles Kading's RBI single for the only score of the game by the Chargers.
The only other real threat by ACGC was in its initial at bat when both Avery Wheatley and Ben Kingery got on by error and advanced to third and second respectively on a wild pitch. Barker ended the threat with his first strikeout of the game. The Knight fast ball pitcher added an additional six strikeouts, and walked no Charger batters in his best performance of the season.
Kading also hit safely in the second inning with a single and Bryce Littler singled in the fifth inning for the only other Charger hits.
Meanwhile, ACGC dodged not just one bullet, but a whole six shooter full, as WA stranded fourteen runners throughout the game. The Chargers' luck ran out in the top of the seventh when WA scored the game winner on a single, two consecutive walks and an RBI single. In the last ACGC at bat Barker stuck out the final two Charger batters to preserve the Knight win.
Clayton Wardyn pitched a respectable five and two thirds innings for the Chargers, giving up seven hits and three bases on balls, while striking out six . Ben Kingery took the loss in relief, while Will Byars pitched the final out.
Coach Taylor Morris didn't think his ball club was prepared for game one. "We came out flat and were not ready to play. We were the better team on paper, but Woodward Academy came out and beat us on the field. Clayton Wardyn had a nice start for us and kept us in the game and Ben Kingery came in and got us out of a clutch situation in the sixth."
Byars got the call to start the second game of the day and turned in what was arguably his best performance of the season. He gave up just just three hits while striking out eight Knights and walking three in six plus innings of work. He also hit five Knight batters, two of whom eventually scored.
The Knights tallied a single run in the bottom of the first and one in the second inning and held the lead until the third inning when Newell Rogers doubled, Avery Wheatley was hit by pitch, and both scored on a fielding error to knot the game at 2-2.
The Chargers broke the tie in its fifth at bat when Littler got his second of three hits--a double to left field. He scored on a wild pitch to give the Chargers a 3-2 lead. After Kingery was hit by a pitch and stole second base, Crawford came through with an RBI single to give ACGC a 4-2 lead.
WA closed the gap to 4-3 in the sixth inning on a hit, a wild pitch and a Charger error. ACGC came back in the seventh inning when it batted around to tally three runs. Littler got things started with his second double of the day. After the next two batters were retired on infield pop ups, Reid Rumelhart drove in Littler with a single. Two consecutive Knight fielding errors allowed Rumelhart to score. Byars' single scored Crawford, who had reached safely on an error, for the final Charger score to make it 7-3 and give the team some breathing room.
But the Knights weren't about to throw in the towel. After walking the leadoff batter and throwing four pitchers to the next batter, Byars was replaced due to the pitch count rule. Eli Kading replaced Byars on the mound and gave up a run before being replaced with Knight runners on second and third and one out. With the score now 7-4 and the tying run at the plate, freshman Cadeyn Jensen got the call to the mound. Jensen sealed the win for ACGC by striking out two consecutive batters to give the Chargers a split for the day.
Morris felt better about his teams play in game two. "We came out slow to start the second game, but once we settled in and were able to put together some good at bats. We needed to come and play well in game two and the guys responded."
With the split the Charger season record moves to three wins and twenty one losses. With the season winding down the team will wrap up conference play next Tuesday at Woodward-Granger before finishing the regular season with two non conference games in early July. A JV game at W-G at 5 PM on Tuesday will precede the varsity game. Go Chargers!
Game one score by inning: Game two score by inning:
WA 001 000 1--2 9 4 ACGC 002 020 3--7 9 3
ACGC 000 100 0--1 4 2 WA 110 001 1--4 4 4
Charger box score Charger box score
AB R H RBI AB R H RBI
Rogers 3 0 0 0 Rogers 5 1 1 0
Littler 3 0 1 0 Littler 4 2 3 0
Wheatley 3 0 0 0 Wheatley 3 1 1 0
Kingery 3 0 0 0 Kingery 3 1 0 0
Rumelhart 3 0 0 0 Rumelhart 4 1 1 1
Crawford 3 1 1 0 Crawford 3 1 1 2
MKading 3 0 2 1 MKading 4 0 1 0
Jensen 3 0 0 0 Byars 4 0 1 1
Nelson 3 0 0 0 Nelson 2 0 0 0
Wardyn 0 0 0 0 Ure 1 0 0 0
Pitching: IP R H SO BB Pitching: IP R H SO BB
Wardyn 5.67 1 7 6 3 Byars 6 4 3 8 3
Kingery 1 1 2 0 3 EKading .33 0 1 1 1
Byars .33 0 0 1 0 Jensen .67 0 0 2 0