The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 11, 2014

Season-opening win for Seeger

Youthful Patriots overcome 3-error first inning against Blue Devils


---- — BISMARCK — The Seeger Patriots and the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils shared one thing in common during Thursday's baseball game in Bismarck.

Both teams are featuring very young and inexperienced teams on the field this year.

Seeger, with just one senior on its roster, were able to put all the pieces together against Bismarck-Henning, securing a 12-2 victory in the Patriots first official game of the season.

"We're young and it's going to be an adjustment this season,'' Seeger coach Nate Davis said. "But, I thought our kids were energetic and it makes it a lot easier when you have kids that love being around the game.

"The biggest thing for us was getting that first game out of the way. We have some guys with not a lot of experience, and while some of our younger guys are talented, they haven't had the experience of varsity basetball until today.''

After a first inning in which the Patriots committed three errors, allowing two unearned runs, they settled down with the help of sophomore right-hander Josh Orahood.

In the final four innings, Orahood (1-0) allowed just three singles, while striking out six and walking just one batter.

"We did settle down after that first inning,'' Davis said. "But it makes it a lot easier to do when Josh Orahood was throwing as many strikes as he did. Everyone had to be on their toes, all of the time because he was keeping the ball around the zone.''

While Orahood allowed just one runner to reach base on a walk, the Blue Devil pitchers Mo Abbed and Chase Swinford, combined to walk five batters and hit five more.

Six of those 10 base runners came around to score for Seeger, who also took advantage of four fielding miscues by Bismarck-Henning, which falls to 1-6.

"Our kids don't have much experience playing baseball,'' said Dodd, noting that Abbed before this season hadn't played in a baseball game since he was in junior high. "They are literally learning during the games. It's just a growing process. The kids are coming every day, they are working hard and they are certainly trying their best.''

After the first inning in which Seeger scored four times and Bismarck-Henning scored twice, it looked like it was going to be an offensive game.

The Patriots added a run in the second to take a 5-2 lead, but the Blue Devils came back with a two-out rally as Dustyn Ingram and Michael Feeney, who was 3-for-3, had back-to-back singles. Center fielder Dylan Dodd lined a pitch up the middle but Patriots shortstop Chandler White was right there to record the final out.

"That could have been two runs right there for us,'' Dodd said. "It would have been a 5-4 game at that point and we would have been right there.''

Seeger's Adam Peterson, who also went 3-for-3, singled and scored a run in the third, drove in a run during his team's four-run fourth when he was hit with a pitch and then capped the day with a run-scoring single to left.

"Peterson is another one of those kids that we have on this team that loves baseball,'' Davis said. "If you put the bat on the ball enough times, it will find some soft ground occasionally.

"We have some guys that can hit in our lineup.''

Also coming up with multiple hits for Seeger was Jake Halsema with two doubles and two RBIs.

After having six baserunners in the first two innings, the Blue Devils managed just a single from Feeney and a walk to Dalton Strawser in the fifth against Orahood.

"We are so raw and inexperienced that we are going to learn a lot of lessons the hard way,'' Dodd said. "I've been through this before in another sport (football), where you just have to bide your time until things can get taught, and you can get enough experience to compete every day.''

Both teams are back in action today as Seeger is on the road at Benton Central; while Bismarck-Henning will host Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman in a Vermilion Valley Conference contest.