STATE CENTER - Sometimes baseball can be as simple as throwing strikes and putting the ball in play.
That is all West Marshall did Tuesday night, but the end result was a 10-0, five-inning win over North Iowa Cedar League West Division foe BCLUW.
"Good things happen when you put the ball in play and that is really our approach offensively," West Marshall coach Jerod Brown said. "We are starting to put more aggressive swings together and hit the ball hard. We need to see the good pitches and swing at it hard and we have been doing that lately."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
West Marshall senior Jared Riemenschneider (25) touches homeplate in front of his Trojan teammates after hitting a solo home run Tuesday in an NICL West Division contest against BCLUW. The Trojans won the game 10-0 in five innings.
The Trojans collected just four hits in the win but took advantage of eight walks, a hit batter and four Comet errors in the field to remain unbeaten in NICL West play. West Marshall (7-2, 5-0) is now winners of three straight and five of its last six.
"They made a few mistakes. That's part of the game," Brown said. "You focus on what you can control. BCLUW is still young and still growing. We just wanted to put the ball in play and see what happens after that."
The Comets struggled to throw strikes and committed a handful of errors. But BCLUW coach Matt Zoske said his team was just beaten by a better team.
"We did struggle finding the strike zone and we made some errors," Zoske said. "But when we did find the zone, they hit it. Their lineup is tough. They have no holes 1-9. They just beat us tonight."
The Trojans needed just three innings to plate their 10 runs. They did not score in the first and did not bat in the fifth.
West Marshall's three-run second inning featured three walks by BCLUW starter Isaac Novak and an RBI single by Dylan Petermeier.
Senior Jared Riemenschneider led off the third inning with a 335-foot home run to center field. It was his second long ball of the season.
"He was looking for a pitch to drive," Brown said. "He's a good hitter, and he saw something he liked there and just took a good rip at it."
The final six runs for the Trojans came in the fourth inning. West Marshall only needed two hits at the plate and were helped out by three BCLUW (2-5, 1-4) errors, three walks and a hit batter.
Riemenschneider collected his second RBI of the night with a run-scoring single as the Trojans sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame. Alex Billman brought another run home on a sacrifice fly to left field. Billman also walked and scored in the frame.
"We just needed to throw strikes and make plays, but we finally cleaned it up," Zoske said. "We dwelled on it too long and then it just snowballed.
"We fielded the balls. We just had trouble throwing it. That hasn't had happened this year so it was something different. A big part of that is that West Marshall has a lot of speed. We thought we had to get it there right away. We needed to just break down and throw the ball and if they beat it they beat it."
Senior Jake Pszanka improved to 2-0 on the mound after throwing four innings and allowing no runs on two hits with three strikeouts. Eighth-grader Ross Randall struck out two in his only inning of work as well.
"He was always ahead in the count," Brown said of Pszanka. "He was around 80 percent strikes. He did a great job of mixing pitches and he changed speeds a lot. He really got his breaking ball working there in the second, third and fourth innings."
BCLUW is without the services of Tyler Lutes this week. The senior is attending Boys State. Lutes is one of the team's best players and has an 18-strikeout, no-hit performance to his credit this year. ... Novak was charged with the loss for the Comets. He was pulled from the mound with one out in the fourth inning. Lane Caster got out of the jam as West Marshall left the bases loaded. ... West Marshall is scheduled to host Gladbrook-Reinbeck in a JV/varsity doubleheader tonight, while BCLUW next plays Friday at home against Grundy Center.