Orion baseball wins regional opener

Mindy Carls
Charger second baseman Trevor Peterson snaps his glove shut on the throw from catcher B.J. Zahniser on a stolen base attempt in the third inning of the regional opener with Princeville on Monday, May 16, at Love Park.

A nifty bit of acting helped Orion defeat Prince­ville 1-0 in the baseball regional opener on Monday, May 16, at Love Park.

After scoring to go up 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Chargers gave up a bunt single in the top of the fourth.

Pitcher Payton Keller threw to first baseman several times trying to pick the runner off. A throw eventually missed, and the runner went to second.

But moments later, Keller pretended to throw to second, and the infielder dove as if the ball had gone by him. The runner took off to third, only to be out when Keller whipped the ball to Drew Amador.

The batter, ignored up to this point, finally saw a pitch and smashed it into left field. Andy Adams made a diving catch for the second out of the inning.

A single deep into the outfield kept the Princes alive, but the next batter flied out to center fielder Kaleb Hougland.

The game could have been a blowout. Orion left three on in the first three innings.

Hougland walked to lead off the first, and Kyle Hoffman followed with a bloop singled into center.

A fielder’s choice put Hougland out, but hitter Trevor Peterson was safe on the play.

Amador walked to fill the bags, only to have the next two batters strike out and pop up.

With one out in the second, Keller singled. Landon Sears replaced him on first. After the next batter made an out, Hougland and Hoffman walked. But with the bases loaded, the next batter whiffed.

The Chargers finally got on the scoreboard in their half of the third.

Amador walked for the second time. By the time the game was over, he had collected three bases on balls in three plate appearances.

Travis Anderson reached on an error to join Amador on the bags.

Two outs later, Keller and Adams drew bases on balls. Adams’ pass forced in Amador.

With the bases still loaded, the next batter grounded out.

In the top of the sixth, Keller whiffed the first two batters. The next Prince hit the ball hard into center field, but Hougland laid out to make the diving catch.

Starting the seventh inning, a Prince scooped the ball all the way to the fence in left center, but he stopped at first base.

Keller made another pickoff attempt, and this time he connected with first baseman Anderson for the out.

The next two batters struck out and popped up to shortstop Hoffman.