South Hardin swamped in season-ending loss to Hawks

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • South Hardin senior Aaron Nederhoff lays down a squeeze bunt during the third inning of the Tigers’ 12-5 loss to South Hamilton in the first round of district play. The bunt scored junior Kolten Rewoldt.

BEAMAN — Saturday saw the beginning of district baseball in Iowa, and getting things started in the area was the South Hardin Tigers, who took on South Hamilton in the first leg of a doubleheader in Beaman as part of the Class 2A District 13 tournament.

Things got off to a good start for the Tigers, with South Hardin scoring two runs to open up the first inning, but eventually the Hawks kept up their scoring while the Tigers (4-12) couldn’t quite muster up the runs to keep within striking distance, falling 12-5 and ending their 2017 campaign.

South Hardin head coach Dick Shindelar said he knew this was going to be a high scoring battle.

“Early on, I told the guys this was going to be a 10 or 12 run ball game and we have to keep pace but we just left too many guys on base,” Shindelar said.

Though the Tigers only scored three more runs in the next six innings, they had plenty of opportunities to knock down some scoring, but some bad luck and mishaps in base running left South Hardin looking for answers.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • South Hamilton pitcher CJ Hewitt runs down South Hardin sophomore Cade Spieker during the first inning of the Tigers’ 12-5 loss to the Hawks in the opening round of districts Saturday.

“We took ourselves out of a couple run opportunities with bad base running and, with the exception of the five-run inning, we played sufficient defense,” Shindelar said. “They shouldn’t have had any runs in that five-running inning, it should have been three quick outs.”

As Shindelar alluded to, the Tigers were still within striking distance of South Hamilton (9-18) late in the game, as they were only down 7-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Hawks would go on to score five runs that inning off only one hit, three errors, a walk and a hit batter.

Sophomore Seth Lindaman got the start for South Hardin, going five innings and giving up seven earned runs off nine hits while walking four and striking out one. Shindelar said his pitching wasn’t spectacular on Saturday evening, but it was enough to keep his team in the game for a while.

“It was adequate, it wasn’t stellar and we haven’t had stellar pitching all year, but we just needed to have adequate pitching,” he said. “I told the kids we were average in all aspects but we needed to be above average. We didn’t need to be excellent, we just needed to be above average in all three aspects but we weren’t.”

On the offensive end, sophomore Cade Spieker led the way with two hits in four trips to the plate while also scoring a run. Senior Alex Gustafson, sophomore Colton Haley and Lindaman each also laid down a hit against the Hawks.

The Tigers are loaded with young players all over their roster, considering they only have two seniors in Gustafson and second baseman Aaron Nederhoff, and Shindelar said that should set his team up for success in the near future.

“My whole pitching staff is coming back and they have a lot of experience this year,” he said. “Defensively we will have to replace our catcher and figure out what to do there, and our second baseman has been a mainstay for us too, but those are two things that I think we can replace. We just have to be able to do it.”