The Varsity Baseball Bombers traveled to Blue Ash on Thursday to face Moeller High School at Schuler Park. The Bombers and Crusaders played on Wednesday with Moeller winning by a score of 4-0 at St. Xavier. The Bombers beat the Crusaders on Tuesday, April 10 by a score of 4-3 after coming back in the bottom of the 7th inning. Thursday's game was the final game of the team's three game series as played in the GCL South with each school. St. Xavier entered the game with a 5-5 overall record and 1-3 in the GCL South while Moeller entered with a 9-4 record and 3-1 in the GCL South.
Junior Joe Auberger took the mound for St. Xavier for the first time since his 7 inning, 1 run performance at Elder on Monday, April 9 that ended in a 2-1 loss for the Bombers in 10 innings. He entered the game with a 0.75 ERA and 10 K in 9.1 innings pitched.
Each team scored runs in the first inning due to fielding miscues from their opponent. The Bombers scored after sophomore Tucker Hundley and senior Michael Grause each drew two out walks. Senior Tyler Dellerman hit a towering fly ball that ended up falling between three Moeller fielders which allowed Hundley to score from second to make it a 1-0 game. Moeller scored their run after their lead off batter reached base due to a throwing error and advanced to second. He scored on a two out double to make it a 1-1 game.
The Crusaders offense scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd inning after their first three batters reached on two walks and an infield single. Auberger forced a ground ball double play but that allowed a run to score to make it 2-1. Moeller chased Auberger from the game after a hit by pitch and a walk but senior Drew Klare came in and got the last out of the inning before any more damage was done.
The St. Xavier offense bounced right back in the top of the 4th inning as sophomores Hank Thomas and Wyatt Hudepohl forced one out walks. Junior Chet Larger reached on a bunt hit to load the bases in the next at bat. Senior Grant Kirby flew out to the left fielder which allowed Thomas to score from third base to tie the game at 2. The throw actually beat Thomas to the plate but he dove around the catcher and slid into the plate safely to score. Senior Nathan Kappers forced a walk in the next at bat to load the bases again which chased the Crusaders starter. Hundley stepped up and came up with a huge two out single past a diving third baseman down the line to score two runners to make it a three run inning and give the Bombers a 4-2 lead.
Moeller responded in the bottom half of the 4th inning as they scored two runs to tie the game at 4. The first hitter walked which was followed by a double and a single to score the runs. Klare settled down and forced a ground out to first base, a strikeout and a ground out to short to keep the game tied.
Dellerman and senior Brett Wissel forced walks to start the 5th inning for St. Xavier and Thomas sacrificed both runners over one base to give the Bombers runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. However, they could not capitalize and left the runners stranded. Moeller took advantage in the bottom of the 5th inning as they singled with 1 out and then had a 2 out double to score a run to make it a 5-4 game. Senior Justin Shanks relieved Klare and forced the last out of the inning to keep it a one run deficit.
St. Xavier came out in the top of the 6th and responded right away. Kirby led the inning off with a single but was stranded there as the Bombers popped out and struck out. Grause reached base on a fielding error by the right fielder with two outs that allowed Kirby to score to tie the game at 5. Dellerman came thru with a double to right center field that scored Grause to give the Bombers a 6-5 lead.
Shanks took care of the rest as he retired the Crusaders in order in both the 6th inning and the 7th inning to preserve the 6-5 win. He finished as the winning pitcher as he tossed 2.1 innings allowing no runs, no hits and striking out 4 hitters. He is now 2-0 on the season.
The St. Xavier offense was led by Dellerman who finished the day 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBI. Hundley finished 1 for 3 on the day with a walk and 2 RBI and 1 run scored. Kirby had one hit and a run scored as did Grause, Hudepohl and Larger. Kirby also added an RBI.
The win improves St. Xavier's record to 6-5 overall and 2-3 in the GCL South. It also gives the Bombers their first season series win over Moeller since 2011 and moves them to 1 game back in the league standings. St. Xavier takes on Centerville at Great American Ballpark as part of the Reds Big League Weekend on Saturday at 4 pm. Tickets are available in the AP's Office. The Bombers return to league play next Monday vs. Elder at home and next Wednesday at Elder's Panther Athletic Complex as they wrap up their season series with the Panthers.