Norsemen boys split with Van Meter

Todd ThorsonSports Writertthorson@storycityherald.com

The #9 ranked Roland-Story boys split a doubleheader with #5 Van Meter Wednesday night (July 6) in Story City. As the regular season was winding down last week, the Norsemen lost game one 4-1, after leading 1-0 early in the first. Game two went the other way, fortunately, as the home team prevailed 4-3.

Van Meter 4, R-S 1

After allowing one run in the first inning, Van Meter stymied the Norse the rest of the way to hand the home team a 4-1 loss. The visitors scored the go ahead runs late to claim the victory. After tying the game at 1-1 in the third, Van Meter tallied two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.

R-S was limited to five hits - a double by Tyler Hovick and singles by Colby Gray, Landon Greiner, Zach Shadlow and John Barclay. Van Meter collected eight hits off losing pitcher Zach Shadlow, who still pitched well despite the loss. Zach allowed just three earned runs, walked one and struck out 11.

The lone Norse run came when Gray walked with one out in the first. After Jake Ford reached on an error, Greiner singled to center to drive in Gray. The Norsemen threatened to score again in the second and third, but never reached second base from the fourth inning on. They were retired in order in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

“We had too many mistakes and missed opportunities for us to come out on top,” said Coach Chris Hill. “When you play a team that is this good you have to be at the top of your game, and unfortunately, we were not.”

R-S 4, Van Meter 3

The Norsemen broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth, and then held off Van Meter in the seventh to gain a split Wednesday night in Story City. The Norse boys did a better job of taking advantage of opportunities and made it stand up for the win. Roland-Story again had only five hits, but they made them count.

Tyler Hovick took to the mound and went the distance, allowing just one earned run on seven hits, walking one and striking out eight. Tyler also led the offense, going 2 for 2 at the plate, with two RBIs and a walk.

“Tyler had a good game at the plate and on the mound,” said Coach Hill. “He battled well and threw a lot of pitches in the game (129). His consistency on the mound has been a big help this year.”

Both teams scored single runs in the first and second innings. The Norsemen’s first run came when Colby Gray doubled to right with one out in the first. Jake Ford’s ground out moved Colby to third, and Hovick’s single to left scored Gray to tie the game at 1-1.

In the second, the Norse tied it up again at 2-2 when Nathan Bell led off with a single, advancing to second on an error. A passed ball moved him to third, and Bell would soon score on Zach Shadlow’s sac fly to left-center.

The Norsemen took the lead for good in the fifth. John Barclay tripled to lead off the inning and scored when Caleb Schlatter reached on an error. Caleb would then steal second and eventually score on Hovick’s infield single.

After Van Meter put together three consecutive hits with two outs to pull within one at 4-3 in the seventh, R-S pitcher Hovick gained the strikeout on three pitches to leave the tying and go-ahead runs on base, thus ending the game.

“It was good for us to be able to bounce back and get the second game,” commented Hill. “Offensively, we did a nice job of forcing plays this game and that aggressiveness helped us score a few runs.”

The Norse (26-10) had two games remaining following the doubleheader before 2A District play began for them this week. The Norsemen received a first round bye in District 13, and will have faced PCM last night (Tuesday) in Story City. If victorious, the Norse will play again Saturday (July 16) in Story City against the winner of the Des Moines Christian/CMB contest.