Saline Wins 5th Straight SEC Red Baseball Title

 05/17/2016 - 02:11

The Saline varsity baseball team clinched the 2016 SEC Red championship Monday at Saline High School.

Saline swept a doubleheader from Pioneer, 3-2 and 11-1, to win the SEC Red for the fifth straight season.

It’s the 17th time the Hornets have won the SEC Red crown under skipper Scott Theisen.

The Hornets and Pioneers entered Monday’s doubleheader at Saline with one loss each. With the victories, Saline improved to 13-1 in the SEC Red.

“It’s an accomplishment. It’s something these kids can be proud of today. We played a good team today. We pitched well and we swung the bats,” Theisen said.

The opening game had a championship-game feel.

Junior righthander Sean O’Keefe (7IP, 9H 2R 1ER 1BB 8K) took the mound for the Hornets. He was coming off a perfect game. Brendan Knorr (6 2/3IP, 7H, 3R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K) pitched well for Pioneer.

The Pioneers struck in the first. Knorr reached base with a two-out single. JG Nwogu walked. Knorr scored on an error. O’Keefe struck out Jackson Hawkins with runners on second and third to end the inning. O’Keefe allowed a hit but struck out three batters in the second. The Hornets tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Jake Finkbeiner led off with a single. Michael Schuby walked. Richard Hovde singled home Finkbeiner to tie the game.

In the fourth Saline added a second run. Schuby doubled to the gap in right-center with one out. With two out, Hovde lifted a high fly ball in the infield. The ball got caught in the wind and Knorr dropped it. Schuby scored from second.

O’Keefe rolled along on the mound. Most of the hits he gave up were slow rollers in the infield. O’Keefe was determined to finish what he started.

“I wanted to go out and win the game for my team. We were playing great defense and winning as a team and I just wanted the win so bad,” O’Keefe said.

In the top of the seventh, O’Keefe gave up a one-out single to Nick Arrivo. With two out, he scored on a double by JG Nwogu. Nwogu was tagged out by Finkbeiner trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

O’Keefe was upset by giving up the tying run. But he made amends in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Foley reached base on an error. Zach Schwartzenberger bunted him to second. He reached third when Zachary Owings reached base on an error.

O’Keefe drilled a single to left to score Foley and win the game.

“You’ve got to leave defense on the defensive side of the ball and once you go over to offense, you’ve got to turn it around and clear your mind and go try to do the best for your team,” O’Keefe said. “I just got the right pitch and I’m glad my team could put me in that position.”

O’Keefe was mobbed by teammates at first base after the walk-off hit.

“It felt pretty good because I had all my brothers around me. It was a great experience,” O’Keefe said.

Saline needed one more win the clinch sole possession of the SEC Red.

Zach Schwartzenberger hit two home runs and drove in five runs to pace the Hornets to an 11-1 victory.

Josh Nelson (6IP, 6H, 0R, 0BB, 4K) earned the victory on the hill.

Cal Livesay sealed the mercy-rule victory with a walk-off single in the bottom of the sixth.

Saline scored in the bottom of the first when Schwartzenberger walked, took second and then scored on a double by Owings. The Pioneers tied the game on three singles in the second.

Saline took over in the bottom of the second. Schuby singled. Hovde drove him in with a double. Ryan Foley singled to score Hovde. Schwartzenberger drove in two runs with homerun to right-centerfield. The Hornets weren’t done yet.  Owings walked with two out. He scored on O’Keefe’s double to center.

Saline added three more in the third. Hovde and Foley singled before Schwartzenberger hit another homerun to right-centerfield. Saline led 9-1.

The Hornets added two more runs in the sixth. Justin Flanagan reached on an error. He stole second and scored on a single from Kellan Huang. After Mike Monahan reached on an error and Hovde walked, Livesay drove home Huang with a single to left.

AA PIONEER (2) AT 2016 SALINE (3)

AA PIONEER           AB  R  H BI  2016 SALINE          AB  R  H BI
Brian Guo             4  0  0  0  Zach Schwartzenberge  2  0  1  0  
Nick Arrivo           4  1  1  0  Thomas Miller         4  0  1  0  
Brendan Knorr         4  0  2  0  Zachary Owings        4  0  0  0  
JG Nwogu              3  0  2  1  Sean O'Keefe          4  0  1  1  
John Kunec            3  0  1  1  Jake Finkbeiner       3  1  2  0  
Jackson Hawkins       3  0  0  0  Michael Schuby        2  1  1  0  
Brendan O'Rielly      3  0  0  0  Cole Daniels          2  0  0  0  
Eric Steinhauer       3  0  1  0   Ted Eppinga          1  0  0  0  
Will Welch            3  0  2  0  Richard Hovde         3  0  1  2  
*Mitchell Sapp        0  1  0  0  Ryan Foley            3  1  0  0  
TOTALS               30  2  9  2  TOTALS               28  3  7  3

AA PIONEER                    100 000 1 -- 2  
2016 SALINE                   010 100 1 -- 3  

LOB--AA PIONEER 8, 2016 SALINE 8. ERR--JG Nwogu, Anthony
Jacobs, Brendan Knorr, Brian Guo, Zach Schwartzenberger.
2B--Michael Schuby, Zach Schwartzenberger, Jake Finkbeiner.
SACB--Zach Schwartzenberger. SB--Zach Schwartzenberger.

 AA PIONEER                      IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Brendan Knorr                  6.67    7    3    1    2    3    0
 2016 SALINE                
Sean O'Keefe                   7.00    9    2    1    1    8    0

SO--Eric Steinhauer (2), Jackson Hawkins, Brendan O'Rielly,
Nick Arrivo (2), Brian Guo (2), Zachary Owings, Ted Eppinga,
Sean O'Keefe. BB--JG Nwogu, Michael Schuby, Zach
Schwartzenberger.
AA PIONEER (1) AT 2016 SALINE (11)

AA PIONEER           AB  R  H BI  2016 SALINE          AB  R  H BI
Brian Guo             2  0  0  0  Zach Schwartzenberge  2  3  2  5  
 Brian Muckstadt      1  0  0  0   Stevie Kise          0  0  0  0  
Nick Arrivo           3  0  0  0  Thomas Miller         4  0  0  0  
Brendan Knorr         3  0  1  0  Zachary Owings        2  1  1  1  
JG Nwogu              3  0  1  0   Justin Flanagan      1  1  0  0  
John Kunec            3  1  2  0  Sean O'Keefe          3  0  2  1  
John Creal            2  0  0  0   Ted Eppinga          1  0  0  0  
Mitchell Sapp         2  0  1  0  Jake Finkbeiner       3  0  0  0  
Eric Steinhauer       2  0  1  1   Kellan Huang         1  1  1  1  
Will Welch            2  0  0  0  Michael Schuby        3  1  1  0  
                                   Mike Monahan         1  0  0  0  
                                  Richard Hovde         3  2  2  1  
                                  Cal Livesay           3  0  2  1  
                                  Ryan Foley            2  2  2  1  
                                   Garrett Marion       1  0  0  0  
TOTALS               23  1  6  1  TOTALS               30 11 13 11

AA PIONEER                    010 000 -- 1  
2016 SALINE                   153 002 -- 11 

LOB--AA PIONEER 4, 2016 SALINE 8. ERR--Nick Arrivo, Brendan
Knorr. 2B--Richard Hovde, Zachary Owings, Sean O'Keefe.
HR--Zach Schwartzenberger (2). SACB--Cal Livesay. SB--Ryan
Foley, Justin Flanagan.

 AA PIONEER                      IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Nick Arrivo                    2.00    6    6    6    2    0    1
Brian Muckstadt                3.33    7    5    3    2    2    1
 2016 SALINE                
Josh Nelson                    6.00    6    1    1    0    4    0

PB--John Creal. SO--Eric Steinhauer, JG Nwogu, John Creal,
Will Welch, Garrett Marion, Richard Hovde. BB--Zach
Schwartzenberger, Richard Hovde, Zachary Owings, Stevie
Kise.
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore founded The Saline Post on Aug. 15, 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @tranlongmoore. Follow The Saline Post @thesalinepost. Follow The Saline Post on Facebook by clicking here.