TEUTOPOLIS — It's not easy taking over the vanguard of a vaunted program like the Teutopolis baseball team.
That's true for juniors Cody Jansen and Eric Kremer.
However, both had no problem leading the way on Tuesday and powered the Shoes to a 10-0 victory over Robinson in five innings.
Jansen snapped out of his recent slump and finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
He walloped a decisive, 2-RBI double in the bottom of the fifth to break the game open 6-0 with two outs.
The Shoes (9-4) actually reeled off all seven runs in the fifth with two outs.
“I'm starting to see the ball,” Jansen said. “I struggled a little bit earlier, but now I'm finally squaring up on balls and it feels nice.
“We practiced on the weekend and I really focused on squaring balls up and try not yanking them out or hitting them out. I focused on hitting opposite field and squaring it up. I think it really helped get my timing down.”
Although Jansen's a returning starter, the catcher moved up to the No. 3 spot this season.
“I think he's putting a lot of pressure on himself and I think all of these guys are,” said Teutopolis coach Justin Fleener, whose team lost its previous game 6-0 against Flora. “We've been fortunate the past few years being able to have success like we've had. I think these guys are feeling that pressure to be able to continue that tradition. I think these guys are going to develop their own identity and have their own success.”
Kremer also had three hits and two RBIs and tallied his second win on the mound in his third appearance.
He shut down the Maroons through four innings with five strikeouts and allowed one hit and four walks.
Robinson's biggest threat was in the fourth inning after back-to-back walks for the second straight inning by Kremer.
With runners in scoring position, Kremer escaped out of the jam with an easy ground out to first base to preserve a slim 2-0 lead.
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“I was feeling pretty good,” Kremer said. “I was hitting the zone and doing what I can. A couple got away from me, but I got a good defense behind me. I always know the guys will help me get out of it.”
Reliever Connor Mette kept it going in the fifth and gave up just one hit himself.
The Shoes finally unloaded in the bottom half after stranding nine base runners in the previous four innings, including the opening frame with the bases loaded and one out that came up empty.
“The game can be a little frustrating,” Kremer said, “but you always have to trust the guys they can go up there and put the bat on the ball.”
Depth is rarely, if ever, an issue for Teutopolis.
This year is no exception.
Senior outfielder Brant Bueker also cranked out three hits while his twin brother, Brock, walked in his first three at-bats and jumpstarted the fifth with an RBI-double that took a fortuitous hop into right field.
Leadoff hitter Carson Hartke and Lane Belleville each mustered a double for the Shoes as well.
“We're still trying to find our identity I feel,” Fleener said. “The guys are sticking with it. They're still trying to concentrate and they're still trying to lock in at their at-bats. We're making some things happen. At the end, I thought we did a good job of making things happen.”
“I know I have to perform, but I just don't try to do too much and go one base at a time and do whatever I can to help the team win.” – Jansen