Still looking for consistency, War Eagles finish busy week 1-5

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

The Clayton Ridge/Central baseball team got off to a rocky start this past week at the Waterloo Bucks Tournament, losing both games. 

 

The War Eagles took on Anamosa in the first match-up, losing 15-0. The offense sputtered to a halt, going 0-13 at the plate with nine strikeouts. The pitching fared about the same, as Dylan Ludovissy and Evan Schroeder gave up a combined six hits, 15 runs, eight earned runs, six walks and one hit batsman. The Raider offense was also aided by six War Eagle errors. 

 

CR/C were more competitive in the second game of the tournament against Kee, and actually led heading into the bottom of the fifth. However,  a misplay in the inning led to three runs for the Hawks, and the War Eagles were unable to scratch anything across in the sixth and seventh innings, losing 5-4. 

 

The offense totaled five hits and 13 strikeouts in 24 at bats. Caleb Helle went 1-3 with two runs and three stolen bases, followed by Ludovissy who also went 1-3 with one run and an RBI. Schroeder went 1-2, with a double and two RBIs, while Sean Wilwert went 1-2 on a double and finished with one RBI. 

 

The defense played better, only committing two errors, but the War Eagles surrendered three stolen bases.

 

Drake Ostrander pitched all six innings for CR/C, giving up just six hits and three earned runs, with two walks and one strikeout.

 

“We expected to face two competitive teams coming in to the tournament. We did not compete on the mound or defensively against Anamosa and dug ourselves a huge hole that we couldn’t climb out of,” said head coach Zach Mueller. “We bounced back in the second game against Kee and competed right up to the final out. Drake Ostrander did a nice job on the mound and hopefully we’ll be able to pick him up a little better going forward.”

 

In a doubleheader against Turkey Valley on June 1, Mueller believed both games were winnable, but the War Eagles didn’t do enough defensively or at the plate and lost both games. 

 

In the first game, CR/C kept it close until the fourth inning, when the Trojans took a 9-4 lead with four runs. They eventually won 11-5. 

 

The War Eagle offense had nine hits, including six singles, two doubles and one Caden Helle home run. Helle led the offense, going 2-4 with a home run, one run scored and two RBIs. Wilwert went 1-3 with a double and one run, while Kurt Ross went 1-2 on a double. 

 

The aggressive War Eagles attempted four stolen bases, but were thrown out three times. 

 

The defense committed five errors, which led to six Trojan runs.

 

Caleb Helle pitched a solid four innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs, four walks and seven strikeouts. He was replaced heading into the fifth inning by Caden Helle, who allowed one hit, two runs and one walk, while striking out two batters, in two innings.

 

The War Eagles made a late comeback in game two, but fell short, losing 4-3. The offense managed seven hits in 26 at bats. Offensive leaders included Ostrander, who went 2-4 with a stolen base, Brandon Thiese, who was 1-3 with a double and one RBI, and Caden Helle, who went 2-3 with one double and an RBI. 

 

The CR/C defense was much improved, committing no errors and finishing with 18 putouts on 23 total chances.

 

On the mound, Thiese held the Trojans to just six hits and four earned runs, with one walk and three strikeouts.

 

“In the first game, we struggled to make plays to get out of innings and the extra pitches led to fatigue and costly free passes. In the second game, we had lots of opportunities to score, but failed to do enough with runners in scoring position to come away with the win. We have to find ways to be more consistent in everything we do in order to win more games,” Mueller commented. 

 

Next up for CR/C was Dike-New Hartford. The War Eagles competed well for most of the night, but came up short in the end, losing 10-4 after a defensive blunder in the fourth led to three Wolverine runs, followed by a big five-run sixth inning for Dike-New Hartford. 

 

The War Eagle offense cranked out seven hits in 29 at bats, led by Ostrander, who went 1-4 with a double and one run.  Ross went 2-3 with a run and Elliot Kelly was 2-3. The team was also perfect on the base paths, stealing three. 

 

Defensively, the War Eagles committed four errors and allowed six stolen bases. 

 

As for pitching, CJ Polkinghorn gave up seven hits and seven runs—four of which were earned—while walking three batters and striking out three. Ross came in for relief, allowing three runs and two walks, and hitting a batter, before he was pulled for Ashton Thiese, who finished the game with a clean stat line.

 

“We expected a very tough game coming in, as Dike-New Hartford played in the state tournament last summer and returned more than half of their lineup. We were much closer in this game than the box score appears, and CJ Polkinghorn really did a nice job of keeping their lineup in check for much of the night,” Mueller said. 

 

In the final game of the busy week, the War Eagles defeated Postville 23-0 in four innings. The offense exploded for 18 hits, including five doubles and one triple, and struck out a season low five times.

 

CR/C was led by Hazen Loan, who went 3-4 with a triple, four runs scored and a stolen base. Caleb Helle went 2-3 with a double, three runs and three RBIs, while Caden Helle finished  3-4 with a double, three runs and five RBIs. Schroeder went 3-3 with a double, two runs and five RBIs. The offense also successfully stole four bases. 

 

Defensively, the War Eagles committed just two errors and allowed one stolen base. Caden Helle pitched a no-hit shutout, with nine strikeouts. 

 

“We knew coming in that Postville had a very inexperienced squad, and we took advantage of that from the first pitch. We strung together lots of hits in the first inning and were able to put up 13 runs. Our guys were aggressive in all phases of the game, and Caden Helle had a nice night attacking hitters on the mound. We hope this win gives us a good confidence boost and we can carry the momentum into the week ahead,” Mueller said. 

 

The War Eagles’ (1-6) busy schedule continues this week, with Wapsie Valley on June 7, then at Crestwood on June 8. The team has a home game against Kee on June 10, then ends the week June 11, with a home match-up against Starmont.

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