NP hands CMB 13-2 loss

ALLEMAN – Hitting was contagious for North Polk in a Heart of Iowa Conference home game against Collins-Maxwell-Baxter June 5.

The Comets had a tough time figuring out left-handed Raider freshman Brady Stover over the first four innings and after Stover also sparked CMB offensively in the top of the fifth, the game was knotted at 2-2. But in the bottom of the fifth the Comets erupted for seven runs, and they added four more in the sixth to pull off a 13-2 victory.

Russell Greene ignited North Polk’s big fifth inning. Reed Smith and Grant Schiltz both walked to lead off the inning and then Greene ripped a line shot to the fence, scoring both runners.

"I knew I needed to get something for our team," Greene said. "We were kind of flat and coach (Dave Middleton) was talking about how we had to get our bats going. With two guys on, I thought it was a good time to hit it."

Brandon Cory, Clay Cory, Jacob Hadaway and Grant Lang followed with four successive singles, with Brandon, Hadaway and Lang each driving in a run for North Polk. Wyatt Johnson added an RBI sacrifice fly and Smith came back to hit an RBI double in his second at-bat of the inning to cap the scoring.

"Once one of us gets rolling, we all start rolling," Greene said. "We feed off each other and that’s what we did today."

It was more of the same in the bottom of the sixth after Comet pitcher Austin Hillebo shut down CMB in the top of the inning. Greene again got things going with a leadoff double, Brandon walked, Wyatt Houge was hit by a pitch and Hadaway drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.

Lang then stepped up to the plate and belted a three-run home run to end the game an inning early due to the 10-run rule.

Schiltz scored North Polk’s first run when he walked in the first inning and made his way home on an error. In the third inning Schiltz came through again, singling home Smith after Smith was hit by a pitch.

As a team North Polk collected 10 hits and the Comets also benefited from six walks and four CMB errors.

Hillebo went the distance to earn the victory. He gave up two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts, no walks and one hit batsman. The victory put North Polk at 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the Heart of Iowa Conference.

CMB dropped to 0-4 both overall and in the conference. First-year Raider head coach Max Seeman said the first five innings against North Polk showed his team is capable of being competitive, despite its slow start.

"North Polk is the best team we’ve faced and probably the best team in the conference," Seeman said. "I want them to take from this that we can play with anybody from the conference."

But the Raiders need to find a way to stop giving up the big inning.

"That’s been the story of our year," Seeman said. "Just one inning and we lose it. It happened to be late in the game where it really cost us."

Stover picked up nine strikeouts in just four innings of work and he only allowed two hits in a losing effort. Stover ended up giving up five runs – four earned – and he also issued five walks.

"He played a little last year as an eighth-grader," Seeman said. "That helped him a lot with his confidence."

Stover also doubled in both Raider runs in the fifth. Nick Carroll singled and scored, Brad Ritter walked and scored and Aaron Haupert added a single for CMB.

North Polk 13, CMB 2 (6)

CMB 000 020 – 2 3 4

NP 101 074 – 13 10 0

CMB: Brady Stover, Zach Samson (5), Zach Hartgers (6) and Brad Ritter

NP: Austin Hillebo and Grant Lang

WP: Hillebo

LP: Stover

2B: CMB – Stover; NP – Russell Greene 2, Smith

HR: NP – Lang