Chargers’ bats heat up in wind, rain and cold.
A bloop and a blast is a way baseball teams think about starting a rally.
Orion’s three-run sixth inning didn’t quite meet the criteria, but a swinging bunt and laser into the outfield were enough for the Chargers to claim a 4-3 victory over Geneseo at the TBK Bank Sports BettPlex in Bettendorf, Iowa, on March 14.
With heavy gusts of wind and a stinging mist of cold rain falling on the players, Geneseo grabbed a 2-1 lead by taking advantage of fielding errors.
With temperatures dropping below 40 degrees and wind gusts whipping across the field, both teams struggled in the field on the unfamiliar turf surface.
With the conditions, putting the ball in play meant anything could happen.
Orion’s Quinn Hoftender did his job at the plate tying the game on a slow rolling grounder that died in no man’s land between the mound and home plate.
The Chargers’ Kyle Edmunds pounded a two-out single to left center to drive in a pair of runs and give Orion a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth.
“Hitting a ball in this weather hurts,” Geneseo Coach Joe Nichols said. “Even if you hit it square it probably hurts. You have to tip your hat to (Orion). They had a couple of guys who hit a couple of lasers. They hit a couple of balls hard.”
Geneseo’s responded with Jaren Brucher reaching base on an error in the bottom of sixth to score Zac Olson.
In the seventh, Geneseo’s Payton Clauson drew a one-out walk to put the tying run on base.
Geneseo subbed a pinch runner in at first, but Orion’s Jacob Kruse threw a strike to second to catch the Leafs stealing.
Dawson Schulenberg shut the door earning the save for Orion with a strikeout a walk and a grounder to end the game.
The Maple Leafs’ Olson hit a sac fly to drive in a run.
Tyler Green drove in a run and drew two walks, and P.J. Moser finished 2-for-4.
“We had some good approaches and typical first game mistakes,” Nichols said. “No matter what, being out here and getting rained on and freezing is better than practicing in a gym.”