Norsemen stymied by CMB ace in district final

Todd ThorsonSports
Norsemen stymied by CMB ace in district final

The Roland-Story boys knew going into their 2A district final contest with CMB (13-11) that they’d be facing their best pitcher in Bradley Stover, but they still felt confident nonetheless. Unfortunately, the Norse couldn’t get any offense going against the ace hurler, and, despite going nine innings, fell short of their bid for a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament. The home team Norsemen lost a 3-0 decision to the Raiders Saturday night (July 16) in Story City.

“When you battle as hard as the guys did it’s really tough when you fall short,” said a disappointed Coach Chris Hill. “We played really well on the defensive side and thought we had very good pitching. In the end they were just able to come up with a couple timely hits.”

The Norse managed only one hit off :Stover, who had hurled two other district victories for CMB en route to the district final. Stover struck out 19 Norsemen to help keep the bases clean for most of the night.

But the R-S pitchers, Tyler Hovick and Zach Shadlow, had nothing to be ashamed of, as they too pitched well enough to win most ball games. Hovick went four innings and allowed only two hits, striking out three and walking only one. Shadlow went five innings and allowed four hits, three runs (none earned), struck out four and walked none in getting tagged with the hard-luck loss.

Roland-Story’s lone hit came in the second inning when Colby Gray lined a single to right with two outs. The Norsemen had only six batters reach base all game - four on walks, one on a hit and one on an error. The Norse managed to reach third base only once, in the eighth, and were in a position to even win the game. Landon Greiner walked with two outs. His courtesy runner Derek Staker then managed to race to third when the pitcher Stover attempted a pick off at first, with the errant throw sailing past the bag. That brought John Barclay up to the plate with a chance to win the game for the Norsemen. But Stover recovered from the mishap and struck Barclay out on three pitches to end the threat and set the stage for CMB’s prosperous ninth inning.

In the ninth, CMB put the first two batters on base. The Norse were able to retire the next two batters, and looked as if they’d get out of the inning. But suddenly back to back singles plated three runs and the Raiders were in front 3-0, as a shocked R-S contingent looked on. Stover would retire the Norsemen in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the Norsemen’s 29-11 record-breaking season.

“Their pitcher is a shutdown type of pitcher, and when you face someone like that you just have to battle and try to take advantage of anything they give you,” concluded Hill. “Our guys had the right mindset and approach, and they truly gave everything they had. As a coach I couldn’t be more proud of how they battled.”

The 29 victories was a new school record for Roland-Story and gives Coach Hill a 222-133 record in 10 years at the helm of the Noremen baseball program. He has been coaching for 12 years and has a career mark of 235-165.