Baseball: TOO HOT TO HANDLE
By Brandon Hurley
BOONE – The Boone Toreadors found their hitting stroke in a big way Friday, smacking two home runs in a five run third-inning en route to a 15-0 victory over the visiting Greene County Rams in a Class 3A district semifinal.
The Rams mustered just three hits against sophomore starter Dresden Wilson July 15, and never posed much of a threat to score.
The eighth-ranked Toreadors (26-7), on the other hand, scored 12 runs in the middle innings, scoring five in the third and seven in the fourth to close out the mercy-rule shortened game in just four innings.
Freshman starter Austin Delp was chased from the game in the third inning with no outs, allowing five runs on five hits.
“They are just a good hitting team,” Greene County head coach Mark Sawhill said. “(Austin) was hanging some of his curveballs belt high. He’s been able to get away with that earlier in the year but they found him and got him (tonight).”
A quiet first inning gave way to three Toreador runs in the second before their offensive explosion in the final two innings.
Nolan Newcomb blasted a two-run dinger over the the left field fence in the third inning, and pitcher Dresden Wilson followed it with a three-run blast of his own just a few batters later, capping the five run rally and an 8-0 lead.
Delp broke up the Wilson’s potential no-hitter in the second with a infield single. Greene County lead-off batter Chase Stoline blasted a two-out double in the third and senior Branden Miller collected Greene County’s only other hit, a single in the fourth inning. No Ram reached third base in the game.
“We weren’t hitting well and I don’t know why, but we were struggling with that,” Sawhill said. “We think, ‘oh, it’s a lefty,’ and I think that kind of gets into our head and that’s where we were at.”
Senior Tyler Beger came in to relieve Delp in the third, but struggled mightily with his control, especially in the fourth inning, hitting back-to-back Toreadors and throwing several wild pitches. In just one and two-thirds innings of work, Beger gave up five hits, allowing five earned runs and giving up nine runs in all, including the seven runs in the fourth inning.
The Toreadors scattered 12 hits in the game and collected 10 runs batted in.
Saturday’s contest was the Toreadors’ highest scoring output of the year for a team that had entered the contest just 3-3 in their last six games.
The Rams closed the regular season going 8-4 in their last 12 games as the bats started to find their rhythm and Delp settled in to his new-found role as the team’s ace. Thre freshman closed the year 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 36 innings. Beger finished his senior season on the mound with a 3-5 record and a 5.32 ERA.
Senior Reid Lamoureux led the Rams in batting from start to finish, ending the year with a .462 average (third in the Heart of Iowa Conference) and 36 hits. Miller and sophomore Wade Adcock finished the 2016 season tied for the team lead in RBI at 18 each. Stoline led the team in steals with 18.
Though a disappointing loss ended an up and down season, Sawhill drew some positives from the way his guys came together near the tail-end of the year.
“We started the year pretty rough (3-12) but we finished the season very well except for tonight,” Sawhill said. “We really played well and did a lot of good things. We can take away that we aren’t bad. Defensively, when we don’t make errors, we do a good job.”
The Rams graduate Lamoureux, Beger and Miller in addition to Mac Adamson, but return Delp, Stoline and a handful of underclassmen, including sophomore catcher and two-hole hitter, Tom Gannon.
“We just have to stay on the positive side of everything and get through it,” Sawhill said. “We will have a different cast of characters next year and we will go from there and see how we can build.”
Boone was upset by Gilbert 6-3 Monday night in the district final. The Tigers (19-13) played Humboldt on Wednesday for a trip to state.