Ballard pulls off 5-4 victory

SAYDEL – The Ballard baseball team came up big in the third inning and then did just enough to hold off a Saydel rally, ending the regular season with a 5-4 non-conference win over the Eagles July 17 at Saydel.

The Bombers broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the third inning. They added another run in the fifth that turned out to be pivotal as Saydel put up a four-run inning of its own in the bottom of the sixth.

The shaky sixth inning saw Ballard nearly have a victory stolen from its grasp, but relief pitcher Quinton Erickson got out of the jam and then slammed the door on the Eagles in the seventh as Ballard improved to 17-15 overall.

The victory gave Ballard a huge lift going into district play two days later at Knoxville.

After a rough previous week in which the Bombers went 1-5 and suffered lopsided losses to Carroll and Urbandale, the victory over Saydel gave Ballard two wins in a row going into districts. Ballard also defeated South Tama on the road a day before the Saydel game.

"It’s huge going into districts 2-0," Ballard senior first baseman Kordell Lettow said. "It gives that much more confidence as a team. The postseason is about how hot you are and right now we’re on a two-game streak looking to get that third."

Lettow played a huge role in Ballard’s victory over Saydel.

Lettow finished 1-for-3 with a steal and two RBI at the plate. His second RBI turned out to be the game-winning run when he hit a sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the fifth, scoring Taylor Bridgewater from third to give Ballard a 5-0 lead.

"Anytime you have a runner in scoring position all you have to do is put the ball in play," Lettow said. "That run was huge because you don’t know how many runs they’re are going to get over the next three innings."

Lettow made the final out of the game on defense as well. With two outs and a runner on first, Lettow made a diving catch on a pop fly in foul territory by Saydel’s Alex Gustafson.

"I didn’t see the ball in that black sky, but I got a good jump," Lettow said. "I made a dive and luckily I caught it. You do what you can to get that final out."

In Ballard’s big third inning Mitchell Broer got things started with a two-out walk. Bridgewater followed with a single and Bernholtz drove in two runs on a Saydel error.

Bernholtz stole second and Lettow knocked him in with a single. Lettow also swiped second base and eventually scored on a double by Jacob Nethers.

Bridgewater finished 2-for-4 with two runs and Nethers was 2-for-3 with an RBI to join Lettow in leading Ballard at the plate. Bernholtz was 1-for-4 with a run and a steal, Collin Fopma wound up 1-for-3 with a run and a walk, Broer walked and stole a base and Chris Neville picked up a steal and a run.

In Saydel’s big sixth inning, Chas Nekola hit a sacrifice fly to knock in a run and Kyle Tijerina singled in a run to pull the Eagles within 5-2. A Bomber error with two outs resulted in the final two Saydel runs before Erickson forced Michael Miller to ground out to end the inning.

Erickson didn’t allow a run and he only gave up one hit in 1 1/3 innings of work.

Sophomore Landon Manfull threw 5 2/3 innings to get the victory. Manfull gave up all four Eagle runs, but only two were earned and he allowed just five hits with one strikeout and no walks.

Tijerina took the loss for Saydel after allowing four runs on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks in three innings. Andrew Holmes gave up one run on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks in four innings for the Eagles.

Ballard 5, Saydel 4

B 004 010 0 – 5 8 1

S 000 004 0 – 4 6 1

B: Landon Manfull, Quinton Erickson (6) and Kenny Randolph

S: Kyle Tijerina, Andrew Holmes (4) and Amos Wright, Tijerina (4)

WP: Manfull

LP: Tijerina

SV: Erickson

2B: B – Jacob Nethers

TAMA – Strong pitching and defense helped Ballard get past South Tama by a 4-1 score July 16 in Tama.

Bomber pitchers Coy Baker, Lane Volkman and Nick Hartman held the Trojans to five hits and allowed just one run in the bottom of the fifth. Ballard went up 2-0 by that point after scoring a run in the first and another in the top of the fifth and the Bombers picked up two big insurance runs in the seventh.

Volkman earned the win after giving up one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk in three innings. Baker threw two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing one hit and one walk, and Nick Hartman produced a pair of hitless innings with two walks and one strikeout.

Jacob Bernholtz was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Taylor Bridgewater went 1-for-2 with a walk, steal and run to lead Ballard on offense. Mitchell Broer drove in a run, stole a base and scored once;, Hartman doubled; Volkman, Kordell Lettow and Collin Fopma each singled once and Chris Neville and Patrick Gray each scored a run.

Dalton Doyle took the loss for South Tama as he allowed one earned run and recorded three strikeouts and walks apiece going the full seven innings for the Trojans. Colson Frakes doubled and scored the lone South Tama run, Sam Kuhter was 1-for-3 with an RBI and Kaleb Davenport also hit a double for the Trojans.

Ballard 4, South Tama 1

B 100 010 2 – 4 7 NA

ST 000 010 0 – 1 3 NA

B: Coy Baker, Lane Volkman (3), Nick Hartman (6) and Ryan Vincent

ST: Dalton Doyle and Noah Bearden

WP: Volkman

LP: Doyle

SV: Hartman

2B: B – Hartman; ST – Kaleb Davenport; Colson Frakes