Coon Rapids-Bayard felt little intimidation when matched up with one of 2A’s most tradition-rich programs.
Behind a dazzling pitching performance from Kade Schlepp, the Class 1A fifth-rated Crusaders (2-1) edged past Kuemper Catholic, 5-3, on Thursday in Coon Rapids.
CR-B shook off any ill effects from a night prior after being upset by Audubon 2-1 on the road, and handled Kuemper (1-2) with little trouble.
Schlepp threw six-and-two-thirds innings of four-hit ball, striking out eight Knights while allowing just a single earned run. Schlepp also was pivotal on the mound, connecting on a pair of hits (including a double) while scoring two runs and swiping a stolen base.
Coon Rapids-Bayard, a 2019 state qualifier and preseason top five club, never trailed against its Class 2A foe, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning, then pouring on three more in the third, leading to a 5-2 advantage. KHS scored one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings but was held scoreless through the remainder of the contest.
Following Thursday’s loss, Kuemper had dropped two straight since defeating Denison-Schleswig in the season-opener. Just three Knights mustered hits Thursday, led by Austin Tigges’ two hits, including a double and an RBI. Jake Hugeback and Kyle Feauto were the only other KHS batters to connect on base knocks.
CR-B junior Quentin Culbertson tallied two RBI while Aaron McAlister, Josh Ramirez and Preston McAlister each recorded one RBI apiece.
Kuemper’s Kyle Berg suffered the loss on the mound, tossing three innings while allowing five earned runs on five hits and two walks, in addition to three wild pitches.
As of Friday, Schlepp was batting .364 with four hits and three RBI.