Problems with execution plague QND baseball team in season-opening loss to Sherrard


From left, Quincy Notre Dame third baseman Abram Wiewel, shortstop Nolan Robb, first baseman Ethan Rose and second baseman Elliott Hendrian wait on the infield during a pitching change in Friday's game against Sherrard at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — There is likely to be one word the Quincy Notre Dame baseball players are going to hear in the days to come.

It’s going to be details, details, details.

Or it may be fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

Better attention to details and a better performance fundamentally may have altered an exasperating outcome in Friday’s season opener against Sherrard. The Raiders committed two errors in the first inning, leading to a two-run deficit, and walked too many batters in the late innings to avoid the Tigers tacking on insurance runs.

The end result was a 10-0 loss in six innings at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield.

“That’s the most embarrassed I’ve been coming off the field,” QND senior shortstop Nolan Robb said. “We didn’t perform at the level we expect of ourselves.”

Miscues at critical times contributed to that.

After allowing a leadoff single to the Tigers’ Kyler Schmidt, Raiders right-hander Evan Kenning collected himself and struck out the next two batters. A flyball to right field was dropped by Logan Sutton, allowing Schmidt to score and extending the inning.

A walk, a stolen base and a throwing error by third baseman Abram Wiewel allowed another run to score. Suddenly, an inning that would have been over with Kenning throwing 18 pitches and escaping unscathed ended with him throwing 35 pitches.

“He came in with a bit of a hip pointer issue, so we were going to monitor his number of pitches,” QND coach Rich Polak said of Kenning, who ended up going three innings with four strikeouts and three walks. “The way that first inning unfolded meant we had to pull him sooner.”

Emotion played a part. Robb was the only full-time starter who returned from last season’s 36-2 squad, and he pointed out how jitters played a role, referencing the error made in the first inning of last year’s super-sectional against Bloomington Central Catholic.

“We’ve been preaching defense, defense, defense all week and we come out and make two errors,” Robb said. “If we don’t do that, it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s just frustrating.”

The two sophomores and one freshman who followed Kenning struggled with control. Right-hander Bradi Lahr walked three and allowed six runs over 2 ⅓ innings. Right-hander Weston Reyburn walked three and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning, and right-hander Klauser walked one and allowed one hit in one-third of an inning.

“You don’t know what you’re going to get with those guys making their varsity debuts,” Polak said. “But they’re going to be OK for us. They’ll eat innings for us if they start locating a little bit better.”

Offensively, the Raiders didn’t give themselves a chance to fight back.

QND managed just two hits and one walk while striking out six times. Junior catcher Nick Spears went 2 for 2 with two singles, and the Raiders got a runner to third base only twice and ended the game by grounding into a double play.

“Coach P is not yelling at us yet,” Robb said. “He’s being positive. It’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve for everyone. … But it’s not Raider baseball right there that you saw.”

The Raiders don’t have time to dwell on it considering they play twice Saturday at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, facing Quincy High School at noon and SHG at 2 p.m.

“It’s a new day,” Polak said. “We have to make sure we approach it better.”

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