Blue Jays Win Conference Opener

Picture by Tyler Oberlag
Picture by Tyler Oberlag

Fulton, MO 3/19/2023- The Westminster College baseball team hosted the Blackburn College Beavers to start SLIAC conference play. The Blue Jays would win game one 9-5 to improve to 6-6 on the young season and start 1-0 in the SLIAC. The Beavers fall to 4-10 overall and 0-1 in the conference.

The Blue Jays had Bode Gebbink (St, Joseph, Il. / St. Joeseph-Ogden) start the game on the mound. The lefty would pick up the win after pitching five innings of baseball. He would strike out five batters, give up two hits and two runs. He would also walk seven batters. Gebbink improves to 2-1 on the year as a starter.

Gebbink would walk the first batter he faced, then strike out the next. He would produce a double play ball to sit the Beavers down 1,2,3 to start the game. Westminster's offense wasted little time getting in the scoring column. Steven Diaz (Highland, Il. / Highland) hit a lead-off single. He would move up to second base on a passed ball. Diaz then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to put the Jays up 1-0.

In the bottom of the second inning, Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) would get on base with a one-out single to left field. Coltin Green (St. Anthony, Mo. / St. Elizabeth) would put the ball in play and reach base on an error and move Mayton up to third. Green would steal second to put runners on second and third with Matt Lukins (Clark, Mo / Rock Bridge) stepping up to the plate. He would do his job of scoring Mayton and moving Green to third base on a ground ball to the second baseman. Diaz would hit a deep fly ball to end the inning with Westminster leading 2-0.

The Beavers would score two runs at the top of the third inning to tie the game 2-2. The Blue Jays would be down in order at the bottom of the third.

Jason Pesold (Arnold, Mo / St. Pius X) got the bottom of the fourth inning, going with a single to center field. Spencer Keiser (Old Monroe, Mo / Winfield) grounded out to third but would advance Pesold to second base. With two outs in the inning, Green would scorch a double to center field and score Pesold. Lukins then hit an RBI single to center to score Green and put the Blue Jays up 4-2.

Westminster would score some more in the bottom of the fifth after Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West), Bushey, and Pesold all walked to load the bases for Keiser. Keiser would get hit by a pitch to keep the bases loaded and bring in Whitehead for a run. Mayton flew out to the right fielder to score Bushey and move Pesold to third base. Keiser then stole second base. Green hit a fly ball to right field to end the inning with the Jays leading 6-2.

Blackburn would score one run in the top of the sixth to make it 6-3. At the bottom of the inning, Lukins would get on first with a leadoff hit by pitch. Troy Romero (Trophy Club, TX / Byron Nelson) doubled to the right to put runners on second and third with one out in the inning. Whitehead hit a single to center field to score Lukins and Romero. Bushey kept the line moving with a single to center and Whitehead would score after an error by the Blackburn centerfielder to put Westminster up 9-3.

The Beavers would hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to make it 9-5. Matt Trout (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Blue Springs South) would gather himself and shut the door on the Blackburn rally to secure the 9-5 victory for the Blue Jays. Trout would pitch an inning, giving up hits and two runs. He would also strike out two batters. Jake Waeltermann (Barnhart, MO / Seckman) came in to pitch the sixth and seventh innings, reliving Gebbink. Waeltermann pitched two innings, gave up three hits, and one run, and struck out one. Kaden Eirhart (Altamont, IL / Altamont) transitioned from the hardwood to the pitchers' mound coming in for Waeltermann. Eirhart would go one inning and strikeout two.

The Blue Jays will be back in action on Tuesday, March 21st to finish the series with Blackburn. They will play a doubleheader with the first pitch scheduled for 1:00 PM at Saucier Field.

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