War Eagles tack on to win total in late season push toward playoffs

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Clayton Ridge-Central baseball team added to its win total last week, going 2-2 heading into the final stretch of the regular season. 


The War Eagle offense showed signs of improvement, while the pitching staff avoided giving up large run totals throughout the four-game stretch, only allowing more than one to be scored in an inning twice. 


The week started with a June 20 doubleheader versus North Fayette Valley. Game one was a pitching duel for five innings, with the TigerHawks nursing a 2-0 lead before the floodgates opened in the sixth, when NFV put up four runs. The War Eagles responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning, then pitching limited the damage in the top of the seventh, holding the TigerHawks to one run. That left the door open for a War Eagle five-run  rally to force extra innings. 


Unfortunately, CR-C gave up the eventual winning run in the top of the eighth and failed to respond, losing 8-7. 


Caleb and Caden Helle—who combined for three hits, three runs scored and three RBIs—led the offense. Kurt Ross added two hits, two runs and one RBI, while Ashton Thiese finished with a hit and an RBI. 


The War Eagles were hurt defensively with three errors, and allowed six stolen bases, which played a role in at least four TigerHawk runs, which were unearned. 


Caleb Helle gave up just two hits and two earned runs to NFV, but  allowed five walks along with five strikeouts. Thiese pitched the final 2.2 innings, walking three, hitting a batter, allowing four hits and giving up two earned runs. He also struck out five. 


The War Eagles put it all together in game two, as the pitching of Caden Helle limited the TigerHawks to three hits and one run, while the offense, led by Caden Helle’s two hits, two RBIs and run scored, started putting up tallies. CR-C won 7-1. 


The overall offensive numbers weren’t as impressive as game one, but the War Eagles hit when they had to, playing situational baseball backed by the rock solid performance on the mound. Along with Helle’s production, Ross put up two hits—a single and a  double—and an RBI. Caleb Helle finished with one hit and an RBI, and Kahne Bolsinger’s double added another run to the scoreboard. 


This time, defensive errors and stolen bases didn’t come back to cause trouble for the War Eagles and the pitching staff. 


On the mound, and in firm control of the game, was Caden Helle. He faced 22 TigerHawks batters and struck out eight of them while only giving up four hits and one earned run. 


Drake Ostrander pitched the final 1.1 innings, putting up a stat line with plenty of zeros, including no hits and no runs. He also struck out three of the four hitters he faced. 


The War Eagles continued the winning June 21, as they took on Turkey Valley, but the win didn’t come easy. CR-C got out to a 3-1 lead, but the Trojans tied the game by the fifth. The War Eagles quickly responded, however, scoring a run in the top of the sixth for an eventual 4-3 win. 


The offense came alive with nine hits, including two doubles. Caleb Helle led the way with two hits, one run and one RBI. Ostrander and Ross finished with a double apiece, while Kylar Millard finished with two hits and Thiese added an RBI. 


CR-C’s offense also racked up eight stolen bases, with Caleb Helle getting four of them, Owen Ludovissy two and Caleb Helle and Thiese with one. 


Freshman Max Nuehring pitched a gem for the War Eagles, giving up just two hits, three walks and no earned runs, while striking out four. The Trojans’ three runs came from a combination of five defensive errors. 


As Nuehring gave way to the bullpen, Braxton Bormann and Colton Hoeger slammed the door on Turkey Valley, combining to pitch shutout innings to secure the victory. 


The final game of the week was a tall task for the War Eagles, as they took on conference leading and 29-2 Kee. Though CR-C kept the score tied 2-2 for most of the game, the Hawk offense eventually came to life and circled the bases for nine runs in the top of the seventh, taking a 12-3 win. 


The War Eagle offense was limited to three hits, while being struck out seven times. Caden Helle accounted for two runs and an RBI, and Ludovissy added a hit and an RBI. Millard also earned a hit and an RBI. 


The story of the game was the defense that committed six errors, paired with eight walks surrendered by the pitchers, leading to 10 unearned runs for Kee.


The War Eagles have two more regular season contests before their first playoff game on Saturday, July 2. The first is June 28 at MFL MarMac, followed by a June 30 home match-up versus Jesup. 


The team will play Waukon in the Class 2A - Substate 4 first round game on Saturday. The Indians beat the War Eagles 10-0 a little over a month ago, but CR-C will look for a different result this time. 


The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at MFL MarMac High School in Monona.

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