By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Monroe can't track down Evansville in loss
Monroe third baseman Mike Rear puts the tag on Craig Payton as he tries to steal third. The ball popped out of Rears glove after the slide in the Monroe Senior Legions 5-1 loss to Evansville Friday night.
MONROE - The Evansville Senior American Legion baseball team turned their game with Monroe into a track meet Friday night.

Evansville stole six of its nine bases in the first two innings en route to a 5-1 win over the Cheesemakers.

Evansville (8-1) ran themselves into scoring opportunities in a three-run second. Craig Payton lined a single to center off Monroe starter Jake Teasdale to lead off. Payton stole second and third and came home on a groundout by Kevin Diedrich. Teasdale then walked Brian Lunde, who stole second. Andrew Keister, who was 3-for-4, blooped an RBI-single to center to give Evansville a 2-0 lead. Keister took second on a throw home, which set up an RBI-single by Ryan Weaver to right.

"It's no secret," Evansville coach Brian Cashore said of the team's green light to steal. "That is part of our strengths and part of our game. We will always look to take the extra base.

"We are not a team that will hit four home runs in a game or get a lot of extra base hits," Cashore continued. "We have a lot of kids who can run."

Monroe coach Bruce Rear understands the pitcher and catcher must work as a tandem to shutdown a running game.

"They are not stealing on the catcher," Rear said. "We need to do a better job of holding runners on. That is another thing we definitely need to work on."

Teasdale pitched five innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked two.

"I thought Teasdale pitched good enough," Rear said. "We just don't make the plays to win close games."

Lunde, a lefty starter for Evansville, dazzled the Cheesemakers, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. Lunde continued to get ahead in the count with a heavy dose of fastballs and then effectively used a curveball and breaking ball to retire hitters.

The Cheesemakers' (2-4) best scoring opportunity before the sixth came in the second when Taylor Weckerly reached on an error leading off. With one out, Mike Rear hit a sharp grounder to short and Weckerly beat a throw and a tag at third as Evansville tried to cut down the lead runner. Lunde bounced back and struck out Josh Popanz and Cory Kundert to end the threat.

Kyle Klopfenstein lined a two-out single in the sixth to break up Lunde's no-hit bid. Mike Demianiuk then followed with a walk. Weckerly then ripped an RBI single to center.

Weckerly said he fought off a curveball and was looking fastball when he drove in the Cheesemakers only run.

"The strikeouts just killed us," Weckerly said. "A lot of younger guys are coming up and getting used to playing with the bigger guys. We are getting better as the summer goes on."

In six innings, Lunde gave up one run on two hits. He struck out eight and walked one. He was in complete command on the mound. Keister came in and struck out the side in the seventh.

Cashore knows what the recipe for success was for Lunde.

"He was able to get ahead," Cashore said. "He was able to throw his breaking pitch and fastball for strikes. He was able to dictate the tempo of the game."

Rear was impressed with Lunde's consistency, but not wowed.

"We struggle at times with our hitting," Rear said. "We struggle with a kid with good off-speed pitches. I think we made him look a little better than he was."