Carroll sweeps baseball doubleheader from Kapaun
As complicated as it was to keep Kapaun Mount Carmel from taking the lead in the nightcap Thursday, Bishop Carroll second baseman Alex Miller appreciated the simplicity of his situation when he stood in the batter’s box in the bottom of the sixth inning.
One out. Runner in scoring position. Tie game.
“In my second at-bat of the game, I had the same count,” Miller said. “I was expecting curveball. All I had to do was sit back and wait for that pitch to come.”
Miller steered Kapaun junior joe Lienhard’s pitch past third baseman Matthew Shearrer and into left field, scoring Tyler Palmore with the go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory at Westurban. Carroll won the opener 6-4 and ended the night atop the City League standings with Heights.
“He’s our nine-hole guy, but he’s a solid, line drive hitter,” Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said of Miller, who had three hits and executed a squeeze bunt in the doubleheader. “I was confident with him up there because he’s put some good swings on the ball.”
Miller’s heroics followed a frustrating top of the sixth for Kapaun, which lost for the first time in league play. The Crusaders (5-3, 4-2 City League) had a baserunner thrown out trying to advance from first to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Kapaun then loaded the bases on two hit batters and a walk, but Carroll reliever Bryce Fischer struck out Shearrer to end the threat.
“I made a bad move to get our first out of the inning at third,” said Kapaun coach Steve Lienhard, who coaches third base. “I should have left him at second, but we’ve still got to come through with the clutch hit. That’s something we didn’t do late in the ballgame.”
Carroll (5-1, 5-1), No. 1 in the Class 5A coaches’ rankings, got deep into both games with starting pitchers Jordan Miller and McCae Allen. Miller, the Golden Eagles’ senior ace, pitched six innings in the opener before left-hander Bryce Fischer came on in the seventh for the save.
“They were hitting my fastball the whole game,” said Miller, who allowed four runs on seven hits, including Koby Nguyen’s leadoff home run in the fifth. “I was struggling to get ahead in the count, and that’s when I get hurt.”
Miller still earned the victory, as five Carroll batters provided RBI hits for run support. Mack Gowing had a two-run single in the fourth, and Mark Quaney, Taylor Sanagorski and Fischer each had doubles.
Allen, a sophomore right-hander, was dazzling early in the second game. He struck out seven of Kapaun’s first 10 batters and finished with nine strikeouts. Allen didn’t factor in the decision, however, as Kapaun’s Alan Clark negated his early lead with a two-run single in the fourth.
“He’s got really good stuff,” Ebright said. “We ask him to just trust that stuff and throw strikes. He was missing some bats. He pitched real well and hung in there.”
Miller, who played first base in the nightcap, helped Allen in the sixth after his pickoff attempt of Kapaun’s Christian Oatsdean got away from Miller. Miller tracked the ball down and whistled it across the diamond to James Leitch-St. Cyr, who tagged out Oatsdean.
Allen’s night ended when he hit Nguyen with a pitch with two outs. Fischer came on in relief and hit Clark, then walked Kobe Krehbiel to load the bases. But his strikeout of Shearrer, coupled with his hustling defensive play on a bunt attempt by Chris Meitzner, helped Carroll complete the sweep and climb ahead of Kapaun in the league standings.
“(A) City (title) would be nice if it happens, but we’re trying to play our best baseball late in the year,” Ebright said. “We’ve got a lot to work on. We made a lot of mistakes tonight.”
|Kapaun||020||110||0||—||4 7 2|
|Carroll||121||200||x||—||6 6 2|
W – Miller. L – Shearrer. Sv – Fischer. HR – Nguyen, Kapaun.
|Kapaun||000||200||0||—||2 5 2|
|Carroll||200||001||x||—||3 7 2|
W – Fischer. L – Lienhard.