—by Todd Thorson
The Roland-Story boys picked up two more conference wins in rather easy fashion last week, but then struggled on Saturday at the Brent Prange Classic, dropping games to Carlisle and Bondurant-Farrar, two very talented ball clubs to say the least. The 4th ranked Norsemen now stand at 9-5 in the HOIAC, while their overall mark reads 20-8.
R-S 9, Gilbert 0
Alex Urbanek went 3 for 4 and Zach Hovick pitched a five-hit, complete game shutout, as the Norsemen blanked the Gilbert Tigers 9-0 last Wednesday night (June 26) in Gilbert. A four-run second, a three-run third and a two-run fourth put the game away early for the Norse. The Tigers reached second base only twice the entire game – once in the fourth and once in the seventh.
Urbanek led the R-S offense, scoring two runs and driving in two runs, as the Norsemen collected a total of 11 hits. Pitcher Hovick allowed no runs, five hits and struck out seven. He threw only 70 pitches, 55 of them for strikes, as he faced only 27 batters.
In the second, Tyler Hovick scored two on a single that brought in Andrew Schlatter and Zach Hovick. Zach also had an RBI single that scored Urbanek. After Evan Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice in the third, Urbanek drove him home with an RBI single. Ross Barclay also singled and scored. The fourth inning saw the Norsemen complete their scoring when Riley Ellis and Colton Finley both walked and scored on singles by Urbanek and Ross Barclay.
"It was nice to see the guys come out and play good baseball," said Coach Chris Hill. "There were two nice things that came out of (this game) tonight. The first was the guys showing that they can come back and perform after a poor outing. The second was them accomplishing it after our longest layoff of the year."
R-S 11, Colfax-Mingo 1
The Norse traveled to Colfax for their final conference road game of the season and came home with an 11-1 victory in six innings. Tyler Hovick went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs, while pitchers Colton Finley and Riley Ellis combined on a two hitter, as the Norse easily disposed of the Tigerhawks. Evan Johnson also went 2 for 3 and Andrew Schlatter had a double and two RBIs. The R-S boys banged out nine hits. An eight-run third spelled doom for the home team.
In the third inning outburst 13 R-S batters came to the plate. Tyler Hovick singled in two runs. Johnson, Urbanek and John Barclay also singled in runs. It was the DH Barclay’s first varsity start. Two errors, a walk and a hit batter also helped the Norsemen.
The fourth inning saw the Norse add three more runs, courtesy of a two-run double by Schlatter and a run-scoring single by Tyler Hovick.
"Our hitting has been a nice addition the past two games," said Coach Hill. "It hasn’t been just one or two guys getting the job done. Hits seem to be coming from everywhere. Hopefully the guys are able to keep this pace as we get ready to head into July."
Carlisle 8, R-S 0
The Wildcats held the Norsemen to just one hit – a single by Alex Urbanek in the seventh – en route to an 8-0 shutout over the Norse at Grand View University in Des Moines, as part of the Brent Prange Classic, on Saturday (June 29). The Norsemen were retired in order in every inning but the seventh. Carlisle’s pitcher Andrew Smith allowed just the one blemish in an otherwise nearly perfect game, striking out three and walking no one.
Evan Johnson and Tyler Hovick teamed up on the mound, allowing 13 hits, four earned runs, three walks and struck out three. A three-run first had the Wildcats on the prowl from the outset. Two more in the third, a single run in the fourth and two more in the seventh finished the scoring for Carlisle.
B-F 7, R-S 1
The Blue Jays scored six in the fourth, in an otherwise evenly played contest, and defeated the Norsemen 7-1 at Bondurant on Saturday (June 29) as part of the Brent Prange Classic. Roland-Story’s lone run came in the seventh on an RBI single by Ross Barclay, which drove in Zach Hovick. Hovick had reached on a fielder’s choice, and went to second on a passed ball, before Barclay brought him in.
Alex Urbanek went the distance on the mound, allowing just three earned runs, in an otherwise strong performance, walking just one and striking out four.
"Defense and hitting were really missing this weekend," commented a disappointed Hill. "We don’t seem to be matching up very well against the 3A teams, as seven of our eight losses have come against them. We will look to regroup over the weekend and get back on track as we head into the 4th of July break."
The Norsemen will have a few days off Thursday through the weekend until they meet up with South Hamilton at home next Monday night (July 8).