By ANDY HEINTZ Courier sportswriter, twitter.com/heintz23
---- — By ANDY HEINTZ
ELDON – For Albia’s Griffin Osing it was a night to remember. For the Cardinal baseball team it was a game to forget.
The Blue Demons offense, led by Osing’s scorching hot bat, blew out the Comets 19-1 in a game that only lasted five innings because of the 10-run rule. Right from the start, Albia’s offense was performing near — or maybe even at — its peak. While Albia’s offensive juggernaut was fueled by a potpourri of characters, none stood out more than Osing, who drove in a whopping seven RBI — he went 4-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a triple.
“I’ve been really hot the last couple of games,” Osing said. “I just keep focusing during practice and when we hit during practice. It’s [the baseball] kind of like a volleyball coming at me. I don’t know my exact stats but I know I’m hitting pretty well.”
“He did a really good job in the batter’s box and he really drove the ball,” Albia coach Boyd Brittain added.
Albia sophomore Caleb Gray had a solid outing on the hill for the Blue Demons. Aside from plunking three batters, Gray did a nice job of shutting down the Cardinals offensive lineup. In his six innings of work, he struck out eight, while allowing only one run on five hits.
“He did a nice job,” Brittain said. “We wanted to get the sophomore through all of this and we did. I think next year he will be a good pitcher for us.”
“I was feeling pretty good,” Gray added. “ I worked the curve ball a few times, but the fastball was really working well for me.”
Osing was the catalyst in Albia’s four-run first inning, driving in Hugh Sinclair with a double to left centerfield to put his team up 1-0. Moments later, a Vic Sanders single to right centerfield drove in Austin Luse. Then Gabe Gravert lifted a bloop single to right field that drove in Osing and upped the Blue Demons lead to 3-0. A couple of batters later, with the bases loaded, Austin O’Leary stroked an RBI line-drive single that grew Albia’s lead to four.
The Red Demons managed to tack on another run in the top of the second when Gabe Gravert, who went a perfect 3-3 on the night, singled home Osing to make it 5-0 Blue Demons. Meanwhile, Gray was in command on the hill, recording three-straight strikeouts after yielding a hit to the Comets Charlie Rachford to start the inning
In the top of the third, the Blue Demons exploded for six more runs go up 11-0. The run-friendly inning was highlighted by a bases clearing double by Osing with the bases loaded.
Albia’s lead climbed to 13-0 in the fourth before the Blue Demons flooded the scoreboard with six more runs in the fifth. Osing blasted a 2-RBI line drive triple in a gap in left centerfield in the inning.
Though it was a tough night for the Comets, Cardinal coach Tom Hallgren didn’t want his team to dwell too much on the loss.
“In the last 15 years, there haven’t been too many teams better than Albia as far as baseball goes,” Hallgren said, “and we can’t let one game disrupt our momentum going into postseason. We’ve got bigger and better things ahead of us than a non-conference game.”
Cardinal (15-11) plays the winner of today’s game between Tri County and Keota Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A, District 9 tourney at Keota. Albia (20-14) plays host to Davis County (14-18) at 7 p.m. today in the first round of the Class 2A District 12 tourney.
“We’re meshing well together so I think we’re going to do good,” Gray said about his team’s chances at districts.
Albia 19, Cardinal 1
Albi 416 26x x — 19 15 1
Card 001 00x x — 1 5 4
Albia battery — Caleb Gray (W, 1-0) (5IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 8K, 1BB), Gabe Gravert catching.
2B — Griffin Osing 2, Ethan Gray.
3B — Osing.
Hits —Hugh Sinclair 2-for-3, Ethan Gray 3-5, Vic Sanders 1-for-4, Osing 4-for-4, Gabe Gravert 3-for-3, Austin O’Leary 2-for-4.
RBI — Osing 7, Sanders, Gravert 2, O’Leary, Sinclair.
Runs —Osing 3, Austin Luse 4, Sinclair 3, Sanders, Christian Summers 2, Ethan Gray 3, Jacob Lenger 2, O’Leary.
Cardinal battery — Taylor Blunt (W-L, 1-0) (2 1/3 IP, 9H, 9R, 10ER, 1K, 4BB), Conner McElderry (2/3 IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER), Brennon Elder (1 2/3 IP, 4H, 8R, 5ER, 1K, 3BB) Kaleb Durflinger (1/3IP, 1K) Cody Streeby catching.
Hits —Dakota Showman 1-for-2, Brandon Eklofe 1-for-2, Charlie Rachford 1-for-2, Tyler Albert 3, Cody Streeby 1-for-3.