Norse boys overcome early deficit in district semifinal

Todd ThorsonSports Writertthorson@storycityherald.com
Norse boys overcome early deficit in district semifinal

The Roland-Story boys found themselves trailing 2-0 against PCM (12-18) Tuesday night (July 12) in Story City, but they didn’t get too concerned as they came up to bat in the bottom of the third. The Norsemen, who have had to rally and come from behind on several occaisions during their record-breaking 29-10 season, scored two to tie the game, and then pushed across three more runs in the fourth to take the lead for good. They added two insurance runs in the fifth before recording the 7-2 victory over the Mustangs in 2A District semifinal play.

The win for the Norse set up another confrontation with conference foe CMB (12-11) on Saturday night (July 16) in the district final, also in Story City. The Norsemen defeated the Raiders twice already this season by scores of 8-1 and 7-1.

“I am really proud of how our team responded with the early deficit,” said Coach Chris Hill. “When they came in at the bottom of the third there was no panic, and one of the guys said it’s nothing we haven’t been through before. This group has been exposed to a lot of situations that the game of baseball can offer. I believe that it gives them the confidence that they can battle through anything. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going into Saturday night.”

Zach Shadlow took to the mound for the Norsemen, and after a bit of a shaky start, settled down to shut out PCM from the third inning on. Zach allowed only five hits and the two single runs in the first and second innings, striking out eight and walking four.

In the third, John Barclay walked, stole second and third and scored on Tyler Hovick’s single to right. Colby Gray, who had also walked after Barclay’s at bat, was then caught stealing third for the second out of the inning. With Hovick successful in his steal attempt of second base, Shadlow singled to short, advancing Hovick to third, who then continued on to score on the play when Shadlow was caught in a rundown between first and second.

The fourth inning was another productive one for Roland-Story, as the first three batters who came to the plate all scored. Jake Ford and Nathan Bell both reached on errors, and Landon Greiner walked. Ford and Bell would eventually score on errors as well, and Greiner’s courtesy runner Zach Taylor would score on Barclay’s ground out to third.

The Norsemen’s sixth and seventh runs of the game came in the fifth. Hovick singled to start off the inning, and scored on Shadlow’s double to right-center. Shadlow’s courtesy runner Jakob Pitman would soon score on Greiner’s ground out to second.

The Norse also had just five hits, but four PCM errors helped the home team maintain the edge. Hovick went 3 for 3 at the plate, with two runs scored and an RBI. Shadlow had a 2 for 3 night, with two RBIs.

“Zach and Tyler came up with some big hits for us,” continued Hill. “I felt the rest of the team also had a good approach at the plate, and they did a nice job of putting the ball on the ground and forcing them to make plays.”