Wolverines parade past CAL

GREEN MOUNTAIN – On a day celebrated with apple pies and hot dogs, the GMG baseball team provided the fireworks on Monday.

The Wolverines kicked off the show against CAL, Latimer with the grand finale. The first six Wolverines to bat reached base in the bottom of the first inning, and all six eventually scored in the inning as 11 GMG batters came to the plate in the first. GMG kept setting off the fireworks, scoring another six runs throughout the next four innings on its way to a 12-2, five-inning Iowa Star Conference win against the Cadets.

“It’s America’s pastime on Fourth of July,” said GMG coach Jay Beichley. “It’s pretty fun. I hope everyone had fun coming out and watching the game, and we appreciate them making it even though it’s a holiday. They did pretty well staying focused. Showed up, batting practice. Went out about things like it was a normal game.”

After CAL (3-15, 3-13) got one on the scoreboard in the top of the first from a Nate Rapp two-out double followed immediately by a Caleb Striegel RBI single, GMG (13-11, 11-6) responded with a six-spot in the bottom half of the inning.

Cole Langenbau started things for GMG. Andrew Thurston walked, and a Levi Duden double drove Langenbau into score. Jacob Burt’s RBI single plated Thurston. Michael Tichy’s base hit saw Duden and Burt come around to score, while Tichy moved to second on the throw in. Blaze Krull joined the hit parade, driving Tichy in while Krull moved into scoring position. Krull then scooted over to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch to give GMG a 6-1 edge after one.

“Right away in the first inning we got on the board,” Beichley said. “We were hitting the ball all over the field. Right field, center field, left field.”

In the second, Burt picked up a one-out hit, and then stole second base. A wild pitch advanced Burt’s courtesy runner, Chance Faircloth, to third, and Faircloth scored when Krull reached on a Cadet error.

The Wolverines went up 9-1 in the third when Conner Stonewall and Langenbau hit back-to-back one-out singles, and Stonewall advanced to third on Langenbau’s hit thanks to a Rapp throwing error. Stonewall scored on a Thurston groundout to short, and Langenbau later scored on a wild pitch.

“Full team effort,” said Burt, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI, stolen base, run scored and also reached base in the fifth on a hit-by-pitch. “Bottom half of the lineup doing a heck of a job. The younger guys have definitely played exceptionally well this whole season. Started off with not much experience, and now they’re filling into their roles. Couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Rapp, a freshman pitcher, got the better of GMG when the two teams met in Alexander on June 8 in a 6-2 CAL win.

However, on Monday, Rapp struggled to keep his heat in the strike zone, throwing four wild pitches with a runner on third base, resulting in four runs for GMG. Thurston earned the victory for GMG on the mound, tossing all five innings giving up two runs on four hits, walking three and hitting another while striking out two.

GMG left a golden opportunity on the base paths with one out in the fourth inning when back-to-back swinging strikeouts stranded two runners in scoring position.

Stonewall began the fifth for GMG with a base hit. Langenbau walked and Thurston notched a base hit to load the bases. Stonewall scored on a wild pitch, as did Langenbau. Two batters later, Tichy launched a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Thurston, giving the Wolverines a 12-2 advantage, invoking the 10-run rule and ending the game in the fifth.

The Wolverines will close out the regular season on Wednesday, hosting Class 1A No. 2 and undefeated in conference play, Don Bosco. There the four GMG seniors, Burt, Langenbau, Blayne Koster and Tichy will play their final home game.

“Same approach,” Burt said of the key to facing one of the top teams in the class. “They’re the same kids as us. You know, 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds. They’re just like us. Just have to put the ball in play. Makes the plays, and we’ll see what happens.

“Definitely a lot of memories. A lot of friends. Good memories with these guys, putting in the work in day in, day out. Couldn’t be more prouder to play for GMG these past five years.”