PITSBURG — Versailles played well in all facets of the game on Tuesday and took advantage of Franklin Monroe’s mistakes as the Tigers beat the Jets 11-0 in a five-inning run rule in Pitsburg.
The Versailles baseball team did most of the damage in the second and third innings when the Tigers scored 10 runs as they put the ball in play and were aided by a few Franklin Monroe errors.
The Versailles pitching of Brett McEldowney and Jared Heitkamp also was strong and limited FM to two hits in five innings.
“That’s what I expected, and that’s why I always like putting them on the schedule because I like for our guys to play teams that are good, and they’re good every year,” Franklin Monroe coach Justin Wilson said. “It’s good for us to play teams like that.”
Franklin Monroe’s first hit of the game came as Nick Lavy led off the bottom half of the first inning with a single. Versailles pitcher Brett McEldowney hit a batter to put a second runner on base, but the Tigers got a double play to end the threat.
Versailles started the second inning with back-to-back singles by Michael Davidson and Derek Bornhorst. Dan Borchers then reached on an error, which allowed Davidson to score the first run of the game for the Tigers.
Franklin Monroe pitcher Zach Hyre induced a popup, but then Jared Niekamp singled in a pair of runners to increase Versailles’ lead to 3-0.
The Jets got the second out of the inning but then committed another error, which allowed Niekamp to score the Tigers’ fourth run of the inning. Jacob Wenning and Jace Barga then produced back-to-back singles to bring in two more runs for a 6-0 Tiger lead.
“The first game we played (Monday against Arcanum) was a little rough at bats,” Versailles coach Ryan Schlater said. “Some of the things we’re working on — two-strike hitting, moving guys over, guys on second and third you’ve got to get those guys in to score — today we did that and had some good at bats.”
In the third inning a Franklin Monroe error plus some strong Versailles hitting helped lead to another big inning for the Tigers.
With one out McEldowney drove in Davidson, who led off the inning with a hit by pitch, with a RBI triple to make it 7-0 in favor of Versailles. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Nic Moorman got a two-out single to score McEldowney and advanced to second on an error.
Mitchell Gigandet then drove in Moorman with a ground rule double, and Gigandet scored on a double by Jacob Wenning for a 10-0 Versailles lead before Lavy relieved Hyre and induced a groundout to end the inning.
“Hopefully it’s an eye-opener to the guys that when you make errors, no matter how small they are, to extend the inning, it can turn into big innings,” Wilson said. “They scored 10 of their 11 runs in two innings, and both of those two innings were extended because of errors.”
For Versailles McEldowney was strong on the mound, pitching perfect second and third innings before being relieved by Heitkamp. The relief pitcher was strong, too, and only allowed one base runner on a single by Daniel Wiseman.
“Pitching-wise this year we’ve been pretty solid,” Schlater said. “We’re lucky enough that we’ve had guys go out there and pound the zone, battle, make them hurt us before we’re hurting ourselves by walking guys.”
Versailles added its final run in the top half of the fifth inning with Moorman scoring as a result of a couple more Franklin Monroe errors, giving the Tigers an 11-0 victory.
Gigandet led Versailles with a 4-for-4 day at the plate while Wenning went 2-for-3.
For Franklin Monroe, Wilson said, the result of the game wasn’t good, but at this point in the season he’s more focused on approach than results.
“There was some good things,” he said. “There was some quality at bats that ended in outs. We had a really good first inning. We made some nice plays defensively.”
If the Jets can continue with a strong approach at the plate, hits will start to come, Wilson said, and the team will get good results.
“I’ll use Ross Burnett as an example,” the FM coach said. “He drove a ball to right-center, and he hit a hard ground ball to short stop. Our approach is focus back up the middle, and he did that twice, didn’t get a hit either time when he hit the ball hard twice. To me those are two quality at bats even though he’s 0-for-2 on the night.”
Versailles will play its home opener at 5 p.m. Thursday against Miami East. Franklin Monroe will return to action with a doubleheader against Russia at noon Saturday in Pitsburg.