The Elsberry Indians kicked off their 2015 baseball season with back-to-back games at Winfield on March 21.
Elsberry squared off against the Warriors on their home turf during the first game and they got off to a quick start offensively.
In the first inning Jon Almus reached first base due to an infield error on the part of Winfield’s third baseman.
A few batters later, Indian Zach Rimel reached first on a similar error, this time courtesy of Winfield’s second baseman.
With two runners aboard, Elsberry’s Tyler Hausgen and Grant Black delivered back-to-back singles to drive in two runs and give the Indians an early 2-0 lead.
Elsberry held that lead for a few innings, only to see the Warriors get on the board later in the game and close the gap to 2-1.
In the fifth inning Elsberry’s Tyler Turnbull reached first base on an error by Winfield’s short-stop and then quickly stole second.
Almus made it to first base due to catcher interference during the attempt by Winfield’s catcher to throw Turnbull out at second.
With two Indians on, Matt Henry bunted down the third base side to load the bases.
Hausgen then stepped up and delivered an RBI single to left field that scored two runs and gave Elsberry a 4-1 lead.
Winfield wasn’t done, however.
The Warriors came back to tie the game 4-4 and then win 5-4 in the seventh inning on an RBI single to second base.
Despite the loss, Elsberry Indian Grant Black was selected as the Peoples Bank and Trust Player of the Game by the Indian Sports Network.
“I was pleased overall with our performance against Winfield,” said Head Coach Dustin Robinson. “With the first game of the year you never know what to expect. We came out swinging the bats pretty decently, we battled, we stuck to our approach and we put the ball in play.”
Robinson said he was also happy with the performance of pitcher Colby Martin.
“He did a great job and he attacked the zone all day,” said Robinson.
With only a few minutes to rest and recover from the loss, Elsberry then turned around and faced the Festus Tigers in the second of the day’s two games.
This time it was Festus that got off to an early lead.
Tiger Andrew Hayden started things off with a home run to right center.
It was all Festus from there, as the Tigers went on to mount an offensive onslaught over the next few innings that enabled them to carry a 9-0 lead to the sixth.
After struggling to produce any runs at all during the game, Elsberry Indians Tyler Turnbull and Matt Henry put up home runs in the sixth inning to make it 9-2.
That’s as close as Elsberry got, however, as Festus shut down a rally in the seventh to preserve the win.
“It all started on the mound for Festus,” said Robinson. “Their pitcher really attacked the zone. He moved the ball around and changed speeds really well.”
That aside, Robinson said he was happy with what he saw on the field.
“I was pleased with our guys,” said Robinson. “We continued to battle. We could’ve folded when it was 9-0 but instead we came up in the last two or three innings and had some of the best at-bats we’d had all day. It was nice to see the guys not give up offensively.”