A SWING AND MISS
TROJANS LAND EARLY HAYMAKER, HOLD OFF HAWKS
JEWELL — The one advantage visiting teams have is the ability to land that first haymaker before the home team even gets a chance to swing the bat.
West Marshall did just that at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex Wednesday night. But the Trojans landed so much more than one punch. It was two. And then three. And then four. And then five. And, yes, then six.
South Hamilton was eventually able to pull itself off the ropes, but by then the damage was too severe.
A six-run first inning that featured three hits, four walks, a bean ball and two South Hamilton errors propelled West Marshall to a 10-7 victory in a battle of two teams that have viable Heart of Iowa Conference championship aspirations.
The Trojans (8-4, 5-0 HOIC) pushed the lead to 8-0 before South Hamilton (7-2, 3-2 HOIC) rallied to close to within 8-7 after five innings. West Marshall slammed the door shut with two more runs in the seventh.
Despite the valiant comeback effort, South Hamilton head coach Kyle Galetich was haunted by the first frame following the contest.
“We battled back and did the things we needed to do, but it was just too big of a hole to begin with and that’s what happens when you come out flat,” he said. “We just looked like a team that was unprepared to play and part of that falls on me.”
South Hamilton was coming off back-to-back wins over second-ranked (Class 2A) Roland-Story and perennial 3A power Ballard, but West Marshall quickly put a damper on the chance for three in a row. Freshman left-handed lead-off hitter Owen Siegert opened the game with a hard shot into the gap in right-center for a stand-up triple, and he also roped a two-RBI single into right during the marathon inning.
Siegert added an RBI single in the third. His 3 for 4 performance keyed the Trojans’ 10-hit barrage, that also included a triple to straightaway center by Kinnick Christensen in the second.
“He’s a good fastball hitter,” Galetich said of Siegert.
South Hamilton’s high-octane offense finally came to life in the fourth and a six-run outburst followed, keyed by a three-run home run to left by Tycin Barkema. He took a first-pitch fastball over the plate from Christensen and launched a no-doubt dinger, his third of the season, to close the gap to 8-5.
Earlier in the fourth, Brock Galetich got South Hamilton on the scoreboard with a two-run double into left-center.
It was 8-6 in the fifth when Jake Ellis hammered a two-out RBI single into left to make it a one-run game. But the Hawks stranded the tying run at third and that was a common problem throughout the contest. They left 13 runners in all on base, seven of them in scoring position.
“We got guys on, but we just couldn’t close the deal,” Kyle Galetich said. “We gave it a run though. I’m disappointed we didn’t win and I’m very disappointed with the way we started the game, but that’s baseball.”
Tanner Blue, who joined Galetich with two hits, took over for Carter Hewitt on the mound in the fifth and retired the initial six batters he faced. But West Marshall timed Blue in the seventh for three hits and two insurance runs. Dru Wilder delivered an RBI double into the gap in right-center, and Cody Braddy followed with an RBI single to left.
“I thought if we could hold them to one (in the seventh), we had a chance, but two or three was going to be harder,” Kyle Galetich said. “But I’m proud of the way Tanner pitched. He came in and threw strikes.”
Hewitt was on the hook for the loss. He allowed eight hits and eight earned runs to go along with five walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
Christensen walked seven in six innings in his winning effort. Peyton Hart came on in the seventh and promptly fanned three.
Lane Swenson and Kyler Hodnefield added singles for South Hamilton, which will attempt to rebound this evening when it hosts Prairie City-Monroe at 7:30 p.m.
WM 10, SH 7
Wednesday at Jewell
WM 611 000 2 — 10 10 3
SH 000 610 0 — 7 8 2
Kinnick Christensen, Peyton Hart (7) and Cody Braddy. Carter Hewitt, Tanner Blue (5) and Elijah Balderas. W — Christensen. L — Hewitt. Multiple hits — WM: Owen Siegert (3), Braddy, Kaden Davis; SH: Blue, Brock Galetich. 2B — WM: Braddy; SH: Galetich. 3B — WM: Siegert, Christensen. HR — SH: Tycin Barkema. RBI — WM: Siegert (3), Davis (2), Braddy (2), Dru Wilder, AJ Dee; SH: Barkema (3), Galetich (2), Jake Ellis.