Big sweep for Monarchs
By CONOR NICHOLL
The Thomas More Prep-Marian baseball team received two complete games from sophomore Kameron Schmidt and senior Shane Zimmerman. The Monarchs continually manufactured runs of singles, walks, errors and stolen bases. Defensively, TMP committed just one error. Sophomore second baseman Grant Romme made a sterling play in Game 2 that likely prevented two runs from scoring.
Overall, the Monarchs collected two crisp victories, 6-3 and 6-0, on Thursday at Larks Park.
"All around, it was probably by far our best outing this year," coach Brian Schumacher said.
Sacred Heart and TMP, two of the state's top small school baseball programs the last several years, moved to 9-3 and 8-4, respectively. After a 0-3 start, the Monarchs have won eight of nine.
"It just helps our confidence knowing that we can compete and win against good teams like that," Zimmerman, the lone senior, said. "We are coming around. Hitting is coming around. We are playing good defense. Pitchers are doing good. They are getting a feel for the game. I think we are going to do really well the rest of the season."
The Knights committed five errors in the doubleheader.
"These were two good ball games -- I feel like we are pretty evenly matched," Sacred Heart coach Brad Dix said. "They just made plays all day long, and we struggled there. That had to be just the difference there."
In Game 1, Schmidt didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning behind a solid defense that made plays in a strong, swirling wind.
"For high school baseball, usually you are going to expect a couple of errors a game," Schumacher said. "We made some nice plays that took them out of some big innings."
TMP scored three runs in the first, two in the third and one in the fourth. Schmidt improved to 3-0. The left-hander kept a Knights offense that had averaged nearly 12 runs a game to six hits.
"He keeps the ball around the zone, he throws fairly hard, he has a nice breaking ball," Schumacher said. "He does what it takes. He doesn't get flustered. He just goes out and takes care of business."
Sophomore first baseman Ryan Schippers reached base all four times on two singles, two walks and two runs scored. In Game 2, Zimmerman was on base twice and scored two runs.
"A lot of situational hitting," Zimmerman said. "Guys on base, moving them over and hitting them in is the key focus, because we don't have power."
Zimmerman, who also stole four bases in the doubleheader, scored from second base on a ground ball in the fifth inning of Game 2. Zimmerman was stealing third on a ground ball to the shortstop.
"I have been really aggressive on the bases the last couple of games," Zimmerman said. "I stole and I saw that he was just going for first, so I just took it, I didn't even slow down, just rounded it and went home."
On the mound, Zimmerman (2-3) entered the game with a 1.91 earned-run average. Helped by a strong curveball that kept multiple Knights' hitters off balance, Zimmerman retired 12 straight at one point. With bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Romme ended the inning on his diving play between first and second.
"Just really happy with how we are playing," Schumacher said.
TMP 6, Sacred Heart 3
Sacred Heart (9-2) 000 200 1 - 3 6 1
TMP (7-4) 302 100 x - 6 7 1
Schmidt and Gottschalk. O'Brien, McMillan (5) and Butts. W - Schmidt (3-0). L - O'Brien. 2B - Butts, Sacred Heart; Hockett, TMP.
TMP 6, Sacred Heart 0
Sacred Heart 000 000 0 - 0 5 4
TMP 002 013 x - 6 4 0
Zimmerman and Gottschalk. McCartney, Dooley (6) and Richards. W - Zimmerman (2-3). L - McCartney. 2B - Dooley, Sacred Heart.