GILBERT – History was made for the North Polk baseball program Friday at Gilbert as Comet head coach Dave Middleton earned the 500th victory of his career with a 5-1 triumph over the Tigers.
North Polk scored two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings to build a 4-0 lead and Gilbert never had a chance after that, going up against Comet pitchers Russell Greene and Cole Jackson. Greene gave up a hit until there two outs in the sixth inning and Jackson slammed the door in the seventh inning as the Comets improved to 18-2 overall and 12-1 in the Heart of Iowa Conference.
In the third inning Grant Lang singled and later scored on a passed ball for the first North Polk run. Grant Schiltz singled in Reed Smith for the second run of the inning after Smith was hit by a pitch and stole second.
The fourth inning saw Jackson step up to the plate with two outs and hit a two-run single, driving in Clay Cory and Lang. North Polk’s final run came in the fifth when Greene doubled in Austin Hillebo.
After Greene’s tremendous showing over the first six innings, Gilbert put up its only threat in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases with no outs. However, Jackson came in, struck out two batters and finished with a force out at home to end the game.
Greene ended up with six strikeouts and two walks. Jackson had two strikeouts and no walks.
North Polk 5, Gilbert 1
NP 002 210 0 – 5 6 2
G 000 000 1 – 1 1 0
NP: Russell Greene, Cole Jackson (7) and Grant Lang
2B: NP – Greene
SAYDEL – North Polk maintained sole possession of first place in the Heart of Iowa Conference with an 8-4 road victory over Saydel June 20.
North Polk entered the game leading the HOIC, but the Comets had suffered their first conference loss the previous day, splitting a double header. That setback put North Polk even with Saydel in the loss column as each team entered the June 20 game with one conference setback.
But thanks to a strong finish and overpowering pitching from Jacob Hadaway, the Comets over- came a couple of early Saydel home runs to take sole possession of first place.
Saydel delivered the first blow when Brandon Hodges smacked a two-run home run in the first inning. North Polk came back with three runs in the second, though, as Grant Lang countered with a two-run blast of his own and Cole Jackson walked, stole a base and scored on a wild pitch.
The bottom of the third saw Saydel produce another two-run bomb as Kyle Tijerina followed up a Comet error with a two-run bomb off a 2-1 Hadaway pitch to left-center field.
That put North Polk in a 4-3 hole. But the Comets showed the moxie of a defending state runner-up by come up with two more runs an inning later to go up 5-4.
Jackson singled and scored on a ground by Grant Schiltz, and Reed Smith singled and made it home on a force play by Russell Greene.
Hadaway kicked it up a notch following Tijerina’s home run by retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced to help North Polk maintain hits advantage. He struck out 10 batters during that stretch and finished the game with 14 strikeouts, one walk and five hits allowed in seven innings to earn the victory.
North Polk gave Hadaway an insurance run in the sixth when Wyatt Houge hit a two-out single, scoring Schiltz. The Comets plated two more runs for good measure in the seventh as Smith hit a two-run single.
The victory put North Polk at 11-1 in the HOIC and Saydel fell to 7-2 in the conference.
Hodges was the losing pitcher for the Eagles as he gave up five runs – four earned – on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in four innings. Tijerina surrendered three runs with four strikeouts and three walks in three innings for Saydel.
North Polk 8, Saydel 4
NP 030 201 2 – 8 13 1
S 202 000 0 – 4 5 0
NP: Jacob Hadaway and Grant Lang
S: Brandon Hodges, Kyle Tijerina (5) and Amos Wright
2B: NP – Hadaway
HR: NP – Lang; S – Hodges, Tijerina
ALLEMAN – North Polk endured its first Heart of Iowa Conference setback Wednesday when the Comets split a doubleheader with Roland-Story in confrontations between two top-five Class 2A teams at Alleman.
Both games were decided by one run.
North Polk, the No. 1 team in 2A according to the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association, defeated No. 4 Roland-Story in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel during the first game. The Comets then were handed a tough 3-2 loss in the nightcap.
In the first game, Cole Jackson threw a brilliant one-hit shutout for North Polk. Jackson hit three batters, but he only had one walk and struck out eight.
Roland-Story threatened to score in three different innings, but Jackson and the Comet defense came through each time to preserve the shutout.
In the top of the first inning, Roland-Story’s Zach Hovick drew a leadoff walk and stole second, but he was left stranded. In the fourth the Norse put runners on second and third with two outs after Evan Johnson hit a one-out single, Alex Muhlenberg was hit by a pitch and they were bunted over a base by Alex Urbanek; but Jackson struck out Andrew Schlatter to get out of the jam.
In the top of the seventh Jackson hit Roland-Story’s leadoff batter, but easily worked around it to wrap up the victory.
North Polk scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Russell Greene singled, Brandon Cory bunted him to second and two batters later Jacob Hadaway singled him home.
Urbanek tallied two strikeouts and two walks and he gave up all four Comet hits in four innings to take the loss for Roland-Story. Riley Ellis threw two scoreless innings in relief for the Norse.
In the second game North Polk jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Blake Brauer walked, moved to second on a based ball, took third on a Reed Smith single and scored on an RBI by Grant Schiltz. But Roland-Story came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to move in front.
North Polk tied the game in the fifth inning when Hadaway singled and scored on a balk with the bases loaded. But North Polk actually caught a bad break on the balk as Grant Schiltz hit a single that would’ve likely driven in two runs just as the balk was called. Instead he struck out, and Roland-Story got out of the inning on a Greene groundout.
Roland-Story regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth. North Polk had a chance to answer in the top of the seventh when Grant Lang drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a bunt and an error, but he was left stranded to end the game.
"We had a few opportunities and just needed a hit here or there to give us a little momentum," North Polk head coach Dave Middleton said. "Our normally tight defense needed to make two or three plays and that hurt us."
Lang was the losing pitcher despite a strong performance. Lang went the distance and struck out 11 with just one walk and five hits allowed, but he was hurt by four North Polk errors. All three Norsemen runs were unearned.
Johnson gave up two runs on four hits with one walk and no strikeouts in four innings to pick up the victory for Roland-Story. Ellis again came on in relief and gave up two hits and two walks with one strikeout in two innings and Zach Hovick tossed one scoreless inning with a strikeout for the Norse.
North Polk still remained atop the HOIC standings following the double header. The Comets went to 10-1 and Roland-Story’s conference record moved to 7-4.
North Polk 1, Roland-Story 0
R-S 000 000 0 – 0 1 0
NP 000 100 X – 1 4 0
R-S: Alex Urbanek, Riley Ellis (5) and Ellis, Alex Muhlenberg (5)
NP: Cole Jackson and Grant Lang
Roland-Story 3, North Polk 2
R-S 002 010 0 - 3 5 0
NP 001 010 0 - 2 6 4
R-S: Evan Johnson, Ellis (5), Zach Hovick (7) and Eills, Muhlenberg (7)
NP: Grant Lang and Grant Schiltz
2B: NP - Russell Greene
COLFAX – North Polk scored three runs or more in three separate innings in an 11-0 victory over Colfax-Mingo in six innings June 17 at Colfax.
The Comets pounded out 13 hits and only allowed four. North Polk also finished with just one error, compared to two for the Tigerhawks.
North Polk took a 3-0 lead after one inning as Russell Greene hit an RBI double, Brandon Cory singled him in and Jacob Hadaway later hit a sacrifice fly.
The Comets added a run in the third as Hadaway singled in Cory. They added another three-run spurt in the fifth as Grant Lang hit a two-run double and Wyatt Houge singled in a run.
In the top of the sixth North Polk plated four runs as Greene and Cory both knocked in a run.
Greene ended up 3-for-4 with a double and three runs and RBI apiece. Cory was 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBI; Houge finished 2-for-3 with a walk, run and RBI; Grant Schiltz was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs and Lang knocked in three runs. Austin Hillebo was the winning pitcher after giving up just three hits and striking out four with three walks in five innings.
Zach Brecht gave up one hit and one walk and he struck out two in one inning of relief for the Comets. Tim Blood gave up five earned runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings to take the loss for Colfax-Mingo.
North Polk 11, Colfax-Mingo 0 (6)
NP 301 034 – 11 13 1
C-M 000 000 – 0 4 2
NP: Austin Hillebo, Zach Brecht (7) and Grant Lang
C-M: Tim Blood, Austin Yoakum (6) and Yoakum, Blood (6)
2B: NP – Lang, Grant Schiltz, Russell Greene