Baseball: Bobby Kuntzendorf-led Aurora Christian downs MarmionAurora Christian pitcher, Bobby Kuntzendorf recorded double digit strikeouts against Marmion Academy on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 12, 2012 9:01PM
Aurora Christian senior pitcher Bobby Kuntzendorf is already dangerous with his high-velocity fastball and solid curveball.
But when he can throw that curveball for strikes and mix in his developing changeup, in addition to his devastating fastball, it can make for a very quick afternoon for an opponent.
Marmion learned that the hard way as Kuntzendorf struck out 11 en route to a 3-2 Eagles win that took just over an hour to complete in Suburban Christian play at Waubonsee Community College.
Kuntzendorf needed a three-run rally from his offense in the sixth to clinch the win, but he cruised on the mound. He allowed four hits and two fifth-inning runs and walked only one to improve to 5-0.
“He threw great again,” Aurora Christian coach Andy Zorger said. “I’m taking it for granted that he’s going to come out and throw that way because he’s done that the past two years. When he’s spotting his curveball for strikes, that just opens up everything because they just can’t just sit on his fastball. He even through a couple of nice changeups today, which he’s been working on a little bit more. He throws strikes and keeps us in the game.”
Kuntzendorf had a worthy mound opponent in Marmion’s Chris Simon, however. Simon has struggled most of the season, but he put it together Thursday. He did it differently than Kuntzendorf, however. Instead of overpowering hitters, he forced the Eagles (9-4, 2-2) to pound the ball into the ground. Only two of the 18 outs he recorded were out of the infield, he struck out only two and all three runs he allowed were unearned.
“He did a good job,” Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. “He’s struggled in his first few starts this year. He threw the ball real well today, threw strikes. When you pitch that well, you deserve to win, but that’s not always the way it works.”
Simon (0-4) looked like he was in good shape when the Cadets (7-7, 4-2) scratched out two runs on Kuntzendorf in the fifth. Will Dorjath walked and Andy Young singled and stole second, setting up Connor Riley’s bloop single to right that plated both runners.
“I was worried because we’ve scored six runs in four games this week, so it was kind of a here we go again thing,” Zorger said.
But he was saved by four hits in a row in the sixth, none hit particularly hard, but in the right spot. Brandon Walgren reached with one out on a tricky hop to third. Kuntzendorf then helped himself with a single to right-center. Josh Haugen cracked an RBI single up the middle and Jake Hanson followed with a ball hit toward shortstop that could have just as easily been an inning-ending double play, but it snuck through. Kenny McCracken’s fielder’s choice scored the eventual winning run.
“The last three games, we’ve been struggling at the plate, but we were just waiting to break through,” Kuntzendorf said. “This is a good game for it to happen. It’s a really nice win.”