The Rolla baseball team (20-6-1, 7-2 OC) traveled to Glendale for the Ozark Conference Championship game on Wednesday, May 9. The Bulldogs couldn't get into the rhythm offensively and had a few things go against them on defense in a 6-0 loss.
Glendale got out to an early lead on Wednesday with a run in the bottom of the first, but it easily could've been a lot worse. The Falcons had a pair of runners in scoring position after a single and a double off the wall by Ty Wilmsmeyer. Thomas Brand followed that with an RBI single to give Glendale a 1-0 lead. A steal and a walk loaded the bases, but Rolla starter Treyton Ruth buckled down and struck out two straight hitters to get out of the jam and hold the Falcons to one run.
The Bulldogs nearly evened the score in the top of the second after a double by Will Boylard. Blaize Klossner stepped up to the plate with two outs and roped a ball into the left-center gap, but Glendale made an exceptional play in the outfield to get the out and keep the Bulldogs off the board. Glendale then loaded the bases again in the bottom of the frame, but Ruth was able to get out of yet another jam and the score remained 1-0 through two innings to play.
The game got away from Rolla in the fourth, as Glendale scored seven runs in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff double and a bunt single put runners on the corners with no outs. The bunt then hurt the Bulldogs again as Jack Hamlin bunted a ball back to the mound. Ruth flipped the ball home, but the umpire ruled that Reese Bassett slipped under the tag of Bulldog catcher Zeke Arthur. A walk loaded the bases and Ruth was relieved by Levi Loughridge. The Falcons then added to their lead with a two run single by Wilmsmeyer, before another run scored on an error and a fourth cam across on a passed ball. Glendale led 6-0 through four innings and held onto that lead for the final three innings.
Offensively, Rolla couldn't get into a groove at the plate. Ethan Paschke. He mixed speeds very well and kept the Bulldogs off-balanced throughout the game. The Bulldogs collected just three hits in the contest.
Ruth and Loughridge each pitched three innings. Ruth took the loss after allowing five runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Loughridge allowed two hits and one run, while striking out four.
"We made some mistakes but hats off to (Paschke), he did a great job on the mound," said Rolla head coach Marty Hauck. He hkept us to two hits and the defensive behind him played phenomenal.
"We faced adversity," continued Hauck. "We got into some adversity with the bunt situation and a couple of other situations where it was calls or whatever the case is. We faced adversity and we didn't handle it the greatest. We've gotta work on that obviously and we will."
While coach Hauck wanted to see his team take the Ozark Conference crown, he knows it's time for the Bulldogs to shift their focus. They open their District Tournament on Saturday against Central, so their attention turns to winning a District title.
"We're 0-0 right now," said coach Hauck. "All this was practice up to this point and time. This one's going to burn tonight, but by tomorrow, I told the boys we've gotta turn a page. It's a one game playoff and we can't come into the ballpark like we did today."
One of the biggest keys for Rolla as they prepare for Districts will be getting some practice in. The Bulldogs have been so busy with game after game, that they haven't been able to practice. Coach Hauck is looking forward to having a couple days off from games so they can get some good practices in.
"We haven't practiced in a week and a half, because we've had a game basically every day and the one day we did have off, I had to give them a day off, because they've been on the road," said coach Hauck. "The key to this to get our momentum back is to have two days of practice and work some kinks out. Get our bunt defense squared away and some of those little things and get back to the grassroots of the basics and get our heads on right."