OAKVILLE • It took almost five weeks and 33 innings, but the Lindbergh baseball team finally got a win over Oakville.
Keyed by a two-run triple from junior Garrett Krueger, the Flyers exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth inning Tuesday afternoon. They eventually were able to hold off their rivals for an 11-7 victory — their first in four shots at the Tigers this spring — in a Suburban West Conference game at Oakville.
“We’ve been talking a lot about competing and just getting out there in every single at-bat,” Lindbergh coach Darin Scott said. “I thought they did a lot of really good things offensively today. We put the ball in play and did a great job of two-out hitting.”
The game was knotted 3-3 when Lindbergh (6-12 overall, 4-7 SWC) opened its half of the fifth with back-to-back singles from Derek Renner and Joey Monti. Pitcher Brendan Sweeney then grounded the ball to Oakville third baseman Justin Pike, who threw wildly to first, one of three Tiger errors in the frame.
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With one in and runners at first and third, Lindbergh shortstop John Hoevelmann put down a bunt in front of the plate. Oakville pitcher Tyler Kellenberger bounced off the mound to field the ball but flipped it well wide of the plate, allowing the second run.
Then, with two runners on, Krueger launched a shot over the head of the right fielder. Two runs came across, and Kreuger slid in just ahead of the relay throw to third base.
“It was a huge opportunity for me to come up with a hit,” Krueger said. “I’m always thinking three when it gets past the outfielders. Coaches have trust in my speed, and I have trust in my speed. Coming out of the box, I was thinking three.”
Krueger didn’t have to stay at third long. Catcher Patrick Shuff followed with a well-placed bunt, and Krueger sped home with the fifth tally to put the Flyers up 8-3.
It was the third triple of the season for Krueger, the team’s center fielder and leadoff hitter, who came into the game hitting a team-best .375. He also leads the team in stolen bases (10) on-base percentage (.474) and slugging percentage (.542).
Scott said Krueger has been a perfect player to have at the top of the order.
“I can’t be happier for the kid,” Scott said. “He’s a really good competitor. He is exactly what you want in a ball player and gives you everything he’s got all day.”
Oakville (14-8, 9-4) came into the game with three wins over Lindbergh — including a 10-7 home victory on Monday. Despite its shoddy defense and shaky pitching Tuesday — the Tigers committed six errors and four Tiger hurlers allowed 12 hits, walked five and hit a batter — Oakville battled back.
Shortstop Lance Gentry, who went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, laced a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 8-5.
In the sixth, Hoevelmann singled in a run for a four-run lead. The Tigers got that run back in the bottom of the inning on a walk, an error and a fielder’s choice. But Lindbergh plated two more in the seventh on singles by Shuff and Ben Harmon, a sacrifice fly by Chris Gusmano and an RBI-single by Cory Green.
The Tigers scored once in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Andy Oliver. But Lindbergh pitcher Jordan DeSnoyer — the Flyers' fourth hurler of the game — finally was able to close the door.
Oakville coach Rich Sturm said the Tigers simply had a bad game.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” Sturm said. “Our pitching was OK, not great. Defense obviously let us down. Offensively, you would think seven runs would be enough to win, but it wasn’t. I’m disappointed.
“Anytime you are trying to beat a team three times or four times in a season, you know that’s going to be difficult. Certainly you want to make that team earn it. Not to take anything away from Lindbergh, because they outplayed us today, but we certainly didn’t do anything to help ourselves or put us in a position to win, which makes it frustrating.”