Junior Tyler Udelhoven couldn’t have picked a better time to deliver the first hit of his Potosi varsity baseball career.
Udelhoven blasted a Hunter Nix offering to deep left centerfielder for a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Chieftains to a 2-1 extra-inning victory over Cassville this past Monday night in the Six Rivers West Conference opener for both teams.
Senior T.J. Neahaus, who led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and later stole second base, scored the winning run on Udelhofen’s clutch hit.
“He had struck out the first three times at bat so I’m sure he was glad to see someone other than (Cassville starter Garrett) Schauff in there,” joked Potosi head coach Ron Kading. “But he picked out a good pitch. He got a hold of it and put it in the gap. It was a no doubt game-winner.”
Udelhoven’s walk-off double was just one of nine hits in what for the most part was a classic pitcher’s duel.
Potosi’s Tim Fritz (1-0) went all nine innings, struck out 15 Comets and allowed just one unearned run on three hits.
Cassville starter Garrett Schauff might have been even better. He struck out 19 in eight innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits, but was lifted after the eighth inning because of a high pitch count.
“You don’t see many pitchers’ duels like that in high school baseball,” added Kading. “Both pitchers were in complete command and had batters missing all game. We were going to have to take Timmy out if it went another inning. We considered ourselves pretty lucky to get out of there with a win. Schauff is going to hurt a lot of batting averages this year.”
Cassville (0-2, 0-1 Six Rivers West) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore centerfielder Elijah Okey reached on a throwing error and later advanced to third on a Potosi’s second error of the inning. Okey later scored the Comets’ lone run on a groundout by junior third baseman Nolan Ackerman.
Potosi (1-0, 1-0 SRW) tied the game just a half inning later when a Cassville error returned the favor. Junior outfielder Spencer Hawes ripped a two-out single then stole second base to get into scoring position.
Potosi senior shortstop Tom Keene smashed a grounder to his position counterpart Ty Kartman, but a Kartman throwing error allowed Hawes to score the tying run from second.
Nix, a freshman who relieved Shauff in the ninth, took the loss, allowed one run on two hits in just a 1/3 of an inning.
Potosi returns to action Friday with doubleheader at home against Pecatonica. Cassville will host Black Hawk in a doubleheader on Friday.
Potosi 2, Cassville 1 (9 inn.)
(from Monday, April 9 @ Potosi)
Cassville 000 010 000 - 1 3 1
Potosi 000 010 001 - 2 6 2
Leading hitters - none. 2B - C: Kirschbaum; P: Tim Fritz 2, Tyler Udelhofen. W - Fritz (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 15 SO, 3 BB). L - Nix (0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB).