By COREY STOLZENBACH
BOONVILLE — Perhaps the only thing that could’ve stopped Jasper’s offensive barrage Tuesday evening was the rain, and that was exactly what happened.
The Wildcats were pouring on the runs in top of the third inning before Tuesday’s downpour intensified, forcing them and the Pioneers off the field. Jasper had batted around and wasn’t done at the time the rain pushed the Wildcats and Pioneers into their respective dugouts.
The game was called minutes later, with the scores and stats not officially counting.
“That’s just baseball,” Jasper coach Terry Gobert said. “You coach long enough, it happens.”
Jasper’s game being called to rain meant the stat lines of the players posted were all for naught. Senior pitcher Grant Stratton had helped his own cause with an RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the first, and also an RBI single in the top of the second.
Junior Chris Hedinger got right in the thick of things in Jasper’s onslaught during the top of the third. His three-run shot over the left field wall came at the expense of junior Pioneers hurler Alec Knies, scoring junior Connor Foley and senior Jobe Luebbehusen. That made it a 6-2 game at the time.
Hedinger and his teammates wanted to play the whole game, but he took the situation in stride.
“We’ve waited before, and we’ll get back on the field Thursday (at Washington), and get back at it,” Hedinger said.
The Wildcats were opportunistic — taking advantage of some Boonville errors that helped contribute to the seven-run third. Luebbehusen had been the batter at the time the game was called, with Foley in scoring position for Jasper at third base.
Jasper manage to bounce back after some things did not go its way. Gobert thought the Wildcats did not use their outs in the first inning, but he thought they did a better job of putting the ball in play later on. He also credited them for capitalizing off of Boonville’s mistakes.
Stratton also adjusted on the mound. He allowed a two-run homer to sophomore counterpart Dominic Sharp in the bottom of the first that put the Wildcats in a 2-1 deficit. However, he didn’t allow anything else, and he struck out the side in order in the bottom of the second.
“In baseball, you’re going to make a mistake, and that kid made him pay for it,” Gobert said. “And he came right back, and another thing we really preach is when you score, you put up a run in the top of the inning, you need a shutdown. You got to get that first guy and not give up any runs, and that’s how you control the tempo of the game. So, he did a good job of that, I thought, after we scored. He shut them down the next time out.”
Stratton had thrown 32 pitches at the time the game was called, just under the eligibility limit of 35. So, it’s possible the Wildcats could trot him out to the hill again in the coming days.
The Wildcats will have one day in practice to get ready for Thursday’s scheduled game against the Hatchets, and Gobert wants his players to work on their timing at the plate. He also knows Jasper could potentially see senior Trey Reed, who’s set to continue his baseball career at Indiana State University, on the mound Thursday.
If that’s the case, he told the Herald that his players won’t be able to score runs at will, as they try take two for their season opener.
“To me, it’s a dress rehearsal,” he said. “It’s disappointing we couldn’t finish it, but we got plenty to work on.”