War Eagles defeat Kee and Turkey Valley in 2-4 week

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Elliot Kelly leads off at third base against Turkey Valley. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Brandon Thiese struck out five Trojans in the War Eagles’ 6-3 victory.

Drake Ostrander takes a big swing against Turkey Valley. Ostrander went 2-4 in the game.

Outfielder Hazen Loan makes a running catch during the Turkey Valley game.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

The Clayton Ridge/Central baseball team went 2-4 last week, highlighted by wins over Kee and Turkey Valley. 

 

The War Eagles started the week on the road with a doubleheader against Kee. In the first game, the War Eagles secured a 3-1 victory behind the strong pitching of Caden and Caleb Helle, who went a combined seven innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four. 

 

The offense was led by Brandon Thiese, who went 3-4 with a double and two RBIs. Drake Ostrander went 2-4 and scored a run, and Kurt Ross went 1-2 while scoring a run. 

 

Overall, the offense put up solid numbers despite the lower run total, compiling nine hits—eight singles and one double—along with a stolen base by Hazen Loan. 

 

The defense also had one of its best games, committing just one error. 

 

It was a different story in game two, as the War Eagles never got the offense going and the pitching could not withstand the pressure of the Hawks lineup, which put up 11 hits and 10 runs against War Eagle pitchers. The Hawks went on to win 10-0. 

 

Caleb Helle returned to the mound for game two, and, in two and one-third innings, allowed five hits and three earned runs.  Dylan Ludovissy entered in relief, but the Hawks added six hits and four earned runs. 

 

The stout defense from game one was also absent, as the War Eagles committed six errors and allowed two stolen basses. 

 

As for the offense, Hawks pitchers kept the War Eagles guessing throughout the game, leading to just two hits in 21 at bats. Ostrander and Thiese were responsible for the two hits. 

 

“We expected two very difficult games coming into the night, as Kee had won 14 straight games and was on the cusp of the 1A rankings. We came out sharp in game one with the Helle boys keeping the Kee hitters off balance and our defense making every play behind them. We put together good at bats all game and looked to keep the pressure on Kee. Ostrander and Thiese gave us nice back-to-back hits in the seventh to add an insurance run,” commented head coach Zach Mueller. “Unfortunately, we came out flat defensively in game two and were never able to get our offense going.” 

 

The War Eagles next faced Turkey Valley in a home contest, putting up a five-run fifth inning and holding off a late Trojan charge to win 6-3. 

 

Thiese got the start and held up over four innings, giving up just four hits and one earned run, while striking out five. Loan finished the final three innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs. 

 

The CR/C defense committed three errors, but Loan and Thiese kept it from allowing the Trojans into the game. 

 

The offense was sparked by Caleb Helle, who went 2-4 with a double and two RBIs. Ross went 1-2 with two RBIs, and Ostrander went 2-4 and scored a run. 

 

“We expected a competitive game coming in, as we lost to Turkey Valley 4-3 the last time we faced them. Thiese and Loan did a great job on the mound of keeping us in it all night and we finally had an offensive outburst in the fifth inning, plating five runs to lead us to a comfortable win,” Mueller said. 

 

On June 24, the War Eagles found themselves on the losing end of a 7-0 game against South Winneshiek. While the defense played well, committing just one error, pitcher CJ Polkinghorn struggled against a Warrior lineup that is batting .302 on the season. 

 

In five and two-thirds innings, Polkinghorn allowed 11 hits, three walks, and seven earned runs. Ostrander finished the last one and one-third innings, holding South Winn to just one hit. 

 

Offensively, the War Eagles got four hits in 25 at bats while striking out four times. Caleb Helle had hits, while Ostrander and Elliot Kelly each had one. 

 

“We knew we had our work cut out for us in facing South Winn, as they have been in and out of the 1A rankings and beat us handily the week before. Polkinghorn and Ostrander did a nice job throwing strikes and keeping us in a competitive game all night, but, ultimately, our offense couldn’t get enough going to give us a chance to win,” Mueller said. 

 

CR/C capped the week with two games in the North Linn Tournament on Saturday. 

 

In the first game, the War Eagles took on 25-1 North Linn, and despite losing 7-2, held the Lynx to just seven runs and kept the ballgame close until the later innings. 

 

War Eagle pitchers Loan and Ostrander performed well, holding the Lynx to just seven hits, but they did give up four walks and five earned runs. 

 

The defense wasn’t error prone, committing just two, but allowed five stolen bases that put added pressure on the War Eagle pitchers. 

 

The offense finished with five hits, including two singles, two doubles and a homerun from Caden Helle, but also struck out five times. In addition to Helle, Loan led the team with a double and RBI. 

 

In the final game of the tournament, the War Eagles took on the 7-11 Northeast Rebels, who jumped out to a two-run lead in the second inning, added another two runs in the third and then exploded for eight runs in the fourth, handing the War Eagles a 12-2 defeat. 

 

Exemplifying how difficult the game was, the War Eagles cycled through four pitchers who allowed the Rebels to hit .545, well above their season average of .302. 

 

Caleb Helle pitched just two-thirds of an inning, giving up five hits, three walks and four earned runs. Ludovissy pitched to one batter, getting a strikeout. Caden Helle faced six Rebels, giving up two hits and one earned run, while walking three. Thiese then pitched one and one-third innings, allowing five hits and four earned runs 

 

The CR/C defense was solid, committing just two errors and throwing out the Rebels’ lone base stealer. 

 

Offensively, the War Eagles got four hits over 18 at bats. Kurt Ross led the effort with one hit and one RBI, while Caleb Helle, Thiese and Kelly each had a hit. 

 

“We knew we had a tough test coming into the day in second ranked North Linn, but we battled for seven innings with Loan and Ostrander keeping us right in it. North Linn was well coached and ran the bases aggressively, which put more pressure on our defense and ended up being the difference in the game,” said Mueller. “We came out very flat in game two and gave an easy win to a Northeast team that had a similar record to us. We have two weeks left in our season to hopefully figure some things out and play more consistent, competitive baseball.” 

 

The War Eagles look to put a stop to the three-game losing streak this week, starting with a home doubleheader versus winless Postville on June 28. CR/C will then take on 6-15 North Fayette Valley in a home match-up on June 30, before welcoming 8-13 New Hampton on July 2. 

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