JEWELL - Through 4 1/2 innings it was anybody's ballgame. And then the South Hamilton baseball bats heard the alarm clock and woke up.
Clinging to a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, the Hawks teed off on Northeast Hamilton pitcher Gabe Rapp to the tune of six hits and eight runs to put the finishing touches on an 11-1, 5-inning victory in non-conference action.
Trojans' head coach Brandon Kelley put the shift on defensively with his outfielders, shading the heavily right-handed South Hamilton lineup to pull the ball to left field. But in the fifth the Hawks began ripping shots up the middle and the other way.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
South Hamilton pitcher Devin?Howard goes to the plate with a fastball during last night’s 11-1, 5-inning victory over Northeast Hamilton in Jewell. Howard went the distance, allowing just two hits while striking out seven.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
Northeast Hamilton’s Nick Jeffers lays down a sacrifice bunt during last night’s game against South Hamilton in Jewell. The Hawks won, 11-1, in 5 innings.
"It took us a while, but once we were finally able to make the adjustment at the plate and either hit the ball up the middle or go to the right side we were able to score the runs," South Hamilton head coach Bret Bell said.
Kelley felt Rapp was in command through 4 1/3 innings, but there was nothing the hurler could do once the Hawks got the ball rolling.
"We hung in there and I thought Gabe pitched pretty well," Kelley said. "You have to give South Hamilton credit because in the fifth inning they put the ball in play and started hitting Rapp pretty hard. I know they were trying to go to the opposite field, but they had some nicely placed hits."
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Gabe Rapp and Jacob Ratzke. Devin Howard and Lucas Olson. W-Howard. L-Rapp. 2B-SH: Olson, Cole Swenson, Trevor Ullestad. 3B-SH: Justin Shepherd. RBI-SH: Howard (2), Shepherd (2), Swenson, Olson, Ullestad.
Cole Swenson smoked a two-run double and Lucas Olson plated one run with his own extra-base hit in the fifth. Trevor Ullestad laced an RBI single, Devin Howard followed with a two-RBI base knock, and Justin Shepherd plated one with a single.
The game ended via the 10-run rule when Shepherd raced home on a passed ball.
South Hamilton (7-5) finished with 10 hits off Rapp. Shepherd, Swenson and Ullestad all had two hits; Shepherd had a triple, Ullestad a double.
Howard picked up the win on the bump for the Hawks. He went the distance, allowing just two hits - singles by Marcus Mechaelsen and Rapp - while walking three and striking out seven.
"I talked to Devin before the game and just told him we wanted to pound the strike zone with fastballs low and away, and he did a great job of that," Bell said. "And then once we were able to work the curveball in, they weren't able to touch him."
Northeast Hamilton (2-8) scored its only run in the third inning when Mechaelsen raced to the dish on a passed ball.
The Trojans will take on Iowa Star Conference rival CAL today, followed by a trip to Principal Park in Des Moines on Saturday to take on Clarion-Goldfield at noon.
South Hamilton will travel to Nevada today to take on the Cubs.