TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South and Munster both recovered from rocky starts on the mound, but the Braves were down 6-3 before recuperating from their issues with finding the strike zone.
South’s offense had opportunities to make up for its pitching woes, but coach Kyle Kraemer’s squad lost its season opener 7-3 in the first game of the annual Braves Bash.
South went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position after the first inning — which included a pair of big Braves’ hits. Preston Tofaute delivered a towering two-run home run, and Sander Downs a two-out, two-strike RBI single that put the Braves ahead 3-2.
But starting pitcher Cody Brock carried his first-inning struggles into the second inning though. The senior right-hander struck out the leadoff man but issued a walk to No. 9 hitter Alec Skalka. Craig Dedlow then stroked a double to the fence in left-center field, later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Alesx Del Rio.
“We give up a two-spot, come back and get a 3-spot ... Cody’s got to think my team comes out and gets me three, let’s get us back to the dugout and get some runs. But he gives up another two spot. He’ll have to figure that out,” Kraemer said.
Brock started off the fourth inning with another walk to Skalka, following that with a pitch that hit Dedelow in the back. Sophomore Connor Shipley came on in relief after Brock gave up two more runs.
“We walked the 9-hole man three times. Wasn’t a good outing. I think we’re better than that. You certainly expect more out of your seniors,” Kraemer said.
Facing a 6-3 deficit, South had a chance to mount a comeback. Shipley pitched well, allowing one run over the final 32⁄3 innings.
The timely hits just didn’t come.
The Braves left a pair stranded in both the third and fourth then the heart of the order came up empty with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Freshman Justin Jenkins, who went 1-for-3 in his varsity debut, walked to lead off the sixth. Jacob Johnson walked, Tofaute walked after a fielder’s choice, then Lannoo fouled out on a first pitch and Brock struck out.
“Preston got us on the board in the first, but he had two other at-bats were he had a runner on third with less than one out. Pete Lannoo does the same thing, Cody Brock does the same thing. Our seniors weren’t very good. They’ve been around for a long time. They just didn’t have a very good game today,” Kraemer said.
The Braves, who won the Braves Bash for the second time in 2012 after losing its Friday night opener, will play New Haven and Mt. Vernon today.
Munster (1-0) will play the same two teams. Coach Bob Shinkan said he likes the approach his young team took to its season opener.
Starting pitcher Alex Crowe walked three and gave up three runs and three hits in the first, but he scattered five hits over the next four innings to keep the Braves off the scoreboard.
“I was happy that he worked himself out of that,” Shinkan said. “Our defense kind of helped us out. We took advantage of some of the control issues they had and got some timely hits. For the opening game, I’m real happy with the way we played. To get a victory against this team, a very good team, is a great way to start the season.”
South will send senior Damon Olds to the mound for today’s 10 a.m. gaine against Mt. Vernon, which is coached by former Indiana State pitcher Paul Quinzer. New Haven, which South will play at 5:30 p.m. in today’s nightcap, has won the Braves Bash three times since 2005.
“We’ll have to play a lot better than we did tonight,” Kraemer said. “Pete Lannoo will probalby pitch the second game if we don’t use him in relief in the second game.”
Shinkan hopes Munster can keep it rolling and take its fourth Braves Bash title since winning the first one in 2004.
“I love coming down here. Kyle does a fantastic job down here,” Shinkan said. “It’s the same teams year in and year out so that’ll tell you the quality of the tournament. I’ve got a lot of young guys and a lot of good hitters so I’m excited to see where that’s going to take us.”