Orion baseball wins season opener
Orion’s varsity baseball team hadn’t played since the sectional semifinal on May 22, 2019, in Farmington.
But despite 700 days having passed since they last laced on the cleats, they didn’t look a bit rusty in the 2021 season opener on Saturday, April 17, in Love Park.
They didn’t even look tired, considering some of the boys had played football on Friday night in Sherrard and had to be on the diamond 12 hours later.
The Chargers worked out of a jam in the first inning with the Monmouth-Roseville Titans, then posted two runs themselves in the bottom of the frame. Orion went on to win 11-1.
Mon-Rose led off the first with a double, but starting pitcher Cole Kratzberg got the next batter to ground out to first baseman Chance Stropes. The runner moved to third.
The next batter was hit by a pitch, but Kratzberg struck out the fourth batter of the frame.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Kratzberg worked the count to 2-2. The runner on third tried to score, but catcher Drake Gunn threw to Kratzberg covering the plate for the final out.
When the Chargers came to bat in the bottom of the first, Kratzberg led off with a ground ball. He went to second on an error.
Quinn Hoftender slapped a hard ground ball to right field for a single. Kratzberg scored on the play.
After Stropes walked, Jarrett Thornburg hit into a fielder’s choice that erased Hoftender at third. Stropes went to second.
Gunn hit a sacrifice fly into center field that scored Stropes for a 2-0 lead.
Mon-Rose posted a run in the third, only to have Orion answer with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Chargers added singletons in the fourth and fifth, and they capped the day with four runs in the sixth.
Orion outhit Mon-Rose 10-2.
Hoftender had a 4-for-4 day at the plate. Ty Comer hit 3-for-3, while Stropes banged out two hits and Thornburg, one.
Comer belted two doubles and Hoftender, one.
Batting in the leadoff spot, Kratzberg scored three runs. Stropes, Dathan Moore and Comer crossed the plate twice each and Gunn and Kile Johnson once apiece.
Comer drove in three runs; Hoftender, two, and Gunn, one.
Comer, Kratzberg and Moore each stole a base.
Kratzberg was the winning pitcher. Over five innings, he allowed one run, which was earned, on two hits and four walks. He struck out four.
Stropes worked an inning of scoreless relief. He did not surrender andy hits of walks, and he whiffed two.
Orion committed one error and Mon-Rose, six.