Ratzke’s solo bomb sets off Hawks in rout of Rams

Depleted South Hamilton scores nine runs in final two innings; Diersen and Harris crank out three hits each

JEFFERSON — It was anybody’s game, right up until the moment the South Hamilton offense detonated in the sixth inning here Monday night.

Tied at 1 when they came up to open the sixth, the Hawks rattled off six hits and scored six runs to pull away from Greene County. They added three more runs in the seventh to turn the nail-biter into a 10-2 Heart of Iowa Conference rout.

Seven different South Hamilton players smacked at least one hit, led by Breanne Diersen and Cortney Harris who were both 3 for 4. Kaylee Oskvig, Katie Johnson and Taylor Ratzke all lashed two hits and Ratzke drove in three runs.

It was a much-needed night for the Hawks (5-8, 2-4 HOIC), who were reeling following a rash of injuries and four straight losses. They were without starting first baseman Chloe Barkema, who continued to nurse an injured shoulder, and starting outfielders Emma Lewis and Lily Skartvedt, who were injured in a collision last Friday.

“This was absolutely huge for our team,” South Hamilton head coach Harry McMaken said. “Anytime teams start losing, there’s a tendency to start pointing fingers at each other. So this is something we really needed for the team to get (back) on track.”

But McMaken felt the outburst actually began in the third inning with one swing of the bat from Ratzke. One pitch after missing a home run by just inches foul, she sent a Samantha Hardaway pitch over the fence in right-center for her second career dinger to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

“Taylor got us started with her home run,” McMaken said. “It set the tone for the whole game. But it wasn’t just one girl. They were all hitting well and making contributions to the win.”

Oskvig started the sixth-inning surge with a single. Ratzke delivered a two-RBI base hit, Harris plated another run with a shot into the right-center gap for a double and Marla Grubb plated one of her two runs when she was hit by a pitch.

Grubb was beaned again with the bases loaded in the seventh.

South Hamilton finished with 14 hits.

Johnson surrendered eight hits and struck out two to get the victory.

“I was really happy for Katie because she’s pitched well in pretty much every outing, but hasn’t always gotten the offensive or defensive support,” McMaken said. “But (Monday night) she got both, and I really love the fact that she got two hits. She was pretty much on cloud nine after the game.”

Megan Carey and Laurin Lyons both had two hits for Greene County (3-8, 3-3 HOIC).

South Hamilton will be at home this evening to take on Nevada at 7 p.m.

S. Hamilton 10, Greene County 2

Monday at Jefferson

S. Ham 001 006 3 — 10 14 4

Gr. Cty 000 100 1 — 2 8 1

Katie Johnson and Hailey Diersen. Samantha Hardaway, Jenna Beyers (6) and Faith Davis, Hardaway (2). W — Johnson. L — Hardaway. 2B — SH: Cortney Harris; GC: Izzy Bravard. HR — SH: Taylor Ratzke. Multiple hits — SH: Harris (3), Breanne Diersen (3), Johnson, Ratzke, Kaylee Oskvig; GC: Megan Carey, Laurin Lyons. RBI — SH: Ratzke (3), Marla Grubb (2), Harris, Krista Swenson; GC: Lyons, Lily Muir.