LeMARS - The South O'Brien boys struck quickly in their baseball game with Gehlen Catholic here on Tuesday, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning on their way to a 7-3 War Eagle Conference victory.
"This was a big win for us," said Wolverine coach Heath Reichle. "Gehlen's Michael Whitehead came out throwing hard, and we did a great job of coming out and being aggressive at the plate. We scored four runs on four hits in the first inning and really set the tone for the rest of the game. We ended the game with 12 hits against very good pitching."
Adam Paulsen earned the win on the mound for South O'Brien, settling down after a rough first inning, and getting 'locked in' for the next four innings. His pitch count got a little high in the 6th, so Reichle brought Bret Puhrmann with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 6th. Puhrmann got a big strikeout, and then a groundball to the 3rd baseman for a force out at 3rd to end the inning. Puhrmann allowed three earned runs on six hits, while striking out four in 1 2/3 innings of relief, earning his third save of the season.
Puhrmann had been hit on his left elbow by a Whitehead fastball in the 4th inning, and for a time Coach Reichle thought he would have to take him out. "But," said Reichle, "Bret sucked it up and worked through the adversity. Bret is a 'gamer' and he has really taken his role as the team's closer very seriously. I have all of the confidence in the world handing the ball over to Bret with a lead late in the game. Not only does he have good stuff, he has the attitude that you need when you come in the game in those situations. Bret just has 'it', " he said.
Kody Nelson had a great night offensively for SOS, going 2 for 3 with an RBI, a triple, and a run scored. He also stole home in the top of the 7th for a huge run that gave the team a four run cushion.
Coach Heath Reichle sid, "I'm very happy with how we are playing right now, we just need to stay the course. The recipe for success is 'good pitching, great defense, and timely hitting'. Right now we are hitting on all phases of the game. But it's early in the year and I'm excited to see how this group reacts to a little adversity when we are lacking on one of these phases. I believe we have the team to battle through it."