Prep Baseball

Raiders deliver strong message with dynamic start

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 23, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The one-run loss to Chatham Glenwood in the final regular-season game could have been construed as a chink in the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team's armor.

The Raiders dismissed that notion quickly and efficiently Wednesday.

Left-handed starter Griffin Kirn retired Springfield Lanphier in order in the top of the first, and left-handed hitting center fielder Dylan Foley led off the bottom of the frame with a triple to set the tone for a 10-0 victory in the semifinals of the Class 3A QND Regional at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield.

"It's about sending the message we're ready to play," said Kirn, who struck out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning.

That came through loud and clear.

"Getting runs early definitely boosts our confidence," QND senior second baseman Alex Mast said. "We believe we can put up a two- or three-spot any inning we want to. I think we proved that."

Doing it against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin might be more of a challenge.

The top-seeded Raiders (25-4) and fourth-seeded Cyclones are scheduled to meet for the regional championship at 11 a.m. Saturday. With rain in the forecast, the game could be moved to Friday afternoon.

Either way, senior right-hander Tommy Ray will get the start for QND.

"It's about doing the small things right and getting to the next game," QND coach Ryan Oden said. "We did that for the most part (against Lanphier). You have to carry over that mindset."

It would help to get off to another quality start.

After Kirn's efficient first inning, Foley greeted Lions starter Tyler Tomko with a rope into right-center field on the second pitch he saw. He scored on a passed ball during the next at-bat.

"Knowing he could piece a ball up like that gets the dugout energized," Mast said. "We feed off our dugout tremendously. Knowing if Foley could piece a ball up, the rest of us can, too."

QND scored twice more in the first by capitalizing on two hit batters and a fielding error. QND tacked on two runs in the second as Foley and Peyton Stegeman scored when Ben Whittaker's popup behind second base was dropped.

Dylan Venvertloh's infield single in the fourth was his second run-scoring hit of the game and drove in Stegeman and Nick Schwartz. Mast's one-out double in the fifth led to another run as the Lions committed two errors in the frame.

"Our speed is a factor," Oden said. "We rounded some bases and scored when they made some mistakes. We put the pressure on them."

Kirn applied just as much.

Zach Knox's ground ball through left side of the infield leading off the second was the only hit Kirn allowed. Only one Lanphier hitter reached base thereafter, and Kirn retired the final seven in a row.

"I just had to come out, show my stuff and work ahead in the count," Kirn said. "I felt I got better as the game went on."

It all centered around the efficient first inning.

"I knew Griff would get out and dictate the pace for us," Oden said.

When the offense follows, it's tough to beat.

"It seems like when Foley goes, we go," Oden said. "It was good to get the pace set early."

Class 3A QND Regional

Quincy Notre Dame 10, Springfield Lanphier 0

Lanphier 000 000--0 1 4

QND 320 221--10 8 0

T. Tomko, A. Tomko (5) and Flemming; Kirn and Schwartz. WP--Kirn. LP--T. Tomko. 2B--QND 1 (Mast). 3B--QND 1 (Foley).