ROLAND – South Hamilton was able to check all of the boxes as it exited Bill Hennessy Field Monday evening.
Solid pitching? Check.
Sound defense? Check.
Timely hitting? Check.
Aggressive base running? Check.
A victory? The biggest check of all.
Doing all of the little things well and not succumbing to the mental or physical errors was a good recipe for success, as the Hawks scored early and never trailed in a 4-2 Heart
of Iowa Conference victory over Roland-Story.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Denver in the championship game of the Hudson tournament on Saturday, Hawks’ head coach Rusty Wintermote wanted his team to return to fundamentals and it certainly paid off. South Hamilton out hit Roland-Story, 8-4, and played error-free defense behind freshman pitcher Taylor Volkmann.
“It was a better all-around game than our championship game at Hudson,” Wintermote said. “Even though we got to the championship, we didn’t play a solid defensive game all day. So (Monday) we wanted to get back to being focused and it was a nice evening.”
Volkmann turned in her third consecutive solid outing in the circle. Roland-Story (4-5, 2-4 HOIC) touched her for a pair of doubles in the first inning, but Volkmann buckled down and retired the next 19 in succession until the Norsemen were able to put a rally together with two outs in the seventh. But by then South Hamilton had built a big enough lead to withstand the pressure.
“Their run in the first inning was on two good hits, so my hat’s off to them,” Wintermote said. “But then Taylor settled down and pitched well and the defense was good behind her.”
Volkmann struck out eight on the night and was aided by several defensive gems behind her. Shortstop Ady Wintermote made six assists in the field and center fielder Alissa Moss tracked down several deep flies.
“The defense has been behind Taylor and she hasn’t had to worry about that,” Rusty Wintermote said. “Ady is calm back there and everyone else is calm around her.”
Ady Wintermote and Ronnie Olson were both 2 for 4 at the dish to lead the Hawks (7-3, 3-2 HOIC). Back-to-back first-inning singles by Ady Wintermote and Alyssa Hegland led to a RBI grounder off the bat of Ronnie Olson for an early 1-0 lead.
It was knotted at 1 in the fourth when South Hamilton took advantage of an error and some erratic pitching from Norsemen starter Hailey Louw. The Hawks were able to plate two runs without a hit, as Louw walked one batter, hit another and threw two wild pitches that pushed the runs across.
“We took advantage of some (wild pitches), but that’s part of the game,” Rusty Wintermote said. “Everybody was putting the ball in play and seeing the ball.”
Volkmann hit a one-out infield single in the fifth and came round to score on a RBI single back up the middle by Olson to increase the Hawks advantage to 4-1.
South Hamilton had opportunities to forge further ahead in the sixth and seventh, but were thwarted by nice defensive plays by the Norsemen.
Breanne Diersen roped a double down the left-field line and Alissa Moss followed with a bunt single in the sixth, but a sharply hit ball by Volkmann led to a double play.
Olson drilled a shot into the gap in right-center for a seventh-inning triple, but she too was left stranded.
Rusty Wintermote was encouraged by Olson’s performance in the clean-up spot.
“Ronnie Olson is getting into a groove and she’s doing a nice job in that No. 4 spot for us,” he said.
South Hamilton will attempt to keep the momentum this evening when it hosts North Polk at 7:15 p.m.