Errors cost War Eagles

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Hazen Loan threw five and two-thirds innings against Kee, allowing nine hits, five earned runs and three walks. He also struck out four batters. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

War Eagle designated hitter Kurt Ross takes a big swing in the game against Kee.

Catcher Sean Wilwert receives a pitch in the June 10 match-up with Kee. The War Eagles lost the game 16-1.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


It was another tough week for the Clayton Ridge/Central baseball squad, beginning with a June 8 game against Crestwood, in which coach Zach Mueller expected to be competitive.


Instead, the contest ended in an 8-0 loss for the War Eagles, who were hurt by seven errors that led to multiple Cadet runs. Six Crestwood stolen bases also put increased pressure on the CR/C infield.


Pitching-wise, the War Eagles performed well, only allowing three earned runs. Caleb Helle started the game, giving up two earned runs and two walks, while striking out one batter, in three and one-third innings. Despite holding the Cadet lineup to a .133 batting average, the errors led to six total runs during Helle’s time on the mound. 


Drake Ostrander replaced Helle, giving up one earned run, two hits and two walks in one and two-thirds innings. Dylan Ludovissy pitched the final inning, allowing just one hit. 


The War Eagle offense managed just five singles and struck out nine times. The five hits were spread between five different players, including Hazen Loan, Ostrander, Brandon Thiese, Evan Schroeder and Sean Wilwert.


“We just never made enough plays defensively or got our offense going,” said Mueller. “We have to be more consistent defensively and have better at-bats in order to compete going forward.”


CR/C’s next game was at home against Kee on June 10. The War Eagles battled to keep it close, but a 10-run seventh inning by the Hawks led to a 16-1 loss. 


The offense totaled six hits, with five singles and one double. Ostrander went 3-4 with a double and a run, Caden Helle went 1-2 with an RBI and Thiese and Elliot Kelly both went 1-3. 


Loan pitched a solid five and two-thirds innings, allowed nine hits, six runs—five of which were earned—and three walks, while striking out four batters. Ludovissy took over in relief, giving up five hits and three earned runs. CJ Polkinghorn, who took over for Ludovissy, fared no better, giving up six hits and seven earned runs. 


The CR/C defense also struggled, committing five errors and allowing five stolen bases. 


“We knew we had a tough matchup in a very good Kee team, but were competitive up to the last inning with the score only being 6-1. Kee’s bats erupted in the seventh inning off our two relief pitchers, putting together 11 hits to score 10 earned runs. We did a lot of positive things in this game, but still have work to do,” Mueller said. 


The final game of the week was at home against Starmont on June 11. The War Eagles scored three runs in the first and second innings and never looked back, defeating the Stars 7-1. 


The offense came alive for nine hits, including two doubles. Game leaders were Loan, who went 1-3 with a stolen base and a run, and Ostrander, who went 1-3 with a stolen base and two runs. Thiese was a perfect 3-3 with a double, stolen base, run and three RBIs, while Schroeder went 1-2 with a stolen base and an RBI and Elliot Kelly went 2-3 with a double, stolen base and a run. 


The CR/C defense was also much improved, committing zero errors and getting 21 putouts on 26 chances. 


The pitching, led by Caden Helle, delivered a breakout performance. Helle went four solid innings, allowing no runs while striking out four batters. Caleb Helle finished the final three innings, giving up one hit and the lone run while striking out five.


“We expected a competitive, but winnable, game against Starmont and got off to a great start. Our defense committed zero errors in the game and our two pitchers did a great job of attacking hitters,” Mueller said. “At the plate, we battled all night and put the pressure on Starmont. We hope to carry this momentum and improved play into the five-game week ahead.”


The 2-8 War Eagles will begin that stretch on June 14 with a doubleheader against North Fayette Valley. On June 15, they will welcome MFL MarMac. CR/C caps the week off with a doubleheader against South Winneshiek on June 17.

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