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Baseball falls to Olney Central in Home Opener of 2017 Spring Season

The Vincennes University Baseball team fell 6-to-1 to the Blue Knights of Olney Central in their first home game hosted at Jerry Blemker Field this season, despite strong pitching efforts from: sophomore Braxton Yeryar, sophomore Pete Wissel, sophomore Austin Gossmann, and Freshman Chance Hitchcock.

Braxton Yeryar got the nod to start on the bump for the Blazers today versus Olney Central. He would retire the first batter he faced, getting him to ground out easily. However, a fielding error by VU would allow a run for Olney Central to score, and the Blue Knights would take a 1-0 lead after the top of the 1st. Sophomores Chance Bodine & Garrett Wolfe would both draw walks in the bottom of the 1st. With a runner threatening in scoring position, OCC would get sophomore Cade Luker to ground out to get out of the jam.

Braxton Yeryar would give the Blazers 2 more impressive innings on the mound, and the Blazer’s bats would finally catch fire in the bottom of the 3rd. Lead-off man, sophomore Clay Druin would line a ball through the gap for a single to start the comeback. He would advance to second off a wild pitch, then Freshman Johnathan Blackwell would drive in Devan Franz with an RBI single.

However, errors would allow the Blue Knights to steal back the momentum, and the lead. OCC would score 2 runs in the 4th off 3 errors by VU, and then would drive in another run off of sophomore Pete Wissel in the 5th take a 4-1 lead after 4.5 innings of play. Sophomore Austin Gossmann would come in and shutdown Olney Central for 3 straight innings. Gossmann retired all 9 of the batters that he faced, striking out 3. However, errors would continue to be a problem for the Blazers as the game progressed. Olney would score another run in the 8th, and with the Blazer offense unable to get their bats going, OCC would add another run in the 9th to defeat VU 6-to-1 at Jerry Blemker Field.

Players getting hits for the Blazers in the game included: Johnathan Blackwell, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and a single. Sophomores Nathan Forest, Chance Bodine, and Garrett Wolfe all went 1-for-3 with a single, and each drew a walk. Devan Franz went 1-for-3 with a single, scored a run, and sophomore Clay Druin went 1-for-4 with a single.

4 pitchers saw action for the Trailblazers. Austin Gossmann pitched 3 innings, gave up 0 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, and had 3k’s. Braxton Yeryar also pitched 3 innings, gave up 2 hits, 1 ER, 3 BB’s, and 3 k’s. Sophomore Pete Wissel gave up 4 hits, 2 ER, and stuck-out 2. Freshman Chance Hitchcock saw action in the last inning of play, pitching 1 inning, giving up 1 hit, 0 ER, and stuck-out 2.

After the game, Coach Chris Barney said, “Our pitching was great today. I was really proud of our pitchers. Those are our top 4 guys, and they did exactly what we asked. We have to work more on fielding balls cleanly, making solid throws, and cutting back on our errors moving forward. South Suburban is a good ball-club, and we have to clean that up to pick up a pair of wins against them next weekend.”

As Coach Barney eluded, the Blazers will return to action this Friday at Jerry Blemker Field against South Suburban. The game Friday is slated to start at 3:00 p.m., and the game Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Let’s go Trailblazers!

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The Vincennes University Athletic Department hosts Play4Kay and raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund annually. VU Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks has a special connection to the late Yow, who was the longtime coach at North Carolina State. He had the pleasure of meeting her while he was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University. This left a lasting impression on him and made this cause important to him and the Trailblazers.

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The NJCAA announced on March 16 the cancellation of all spring sport competition and all upcoming basketball championships, effective immediately, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.

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