TAMA - Steady pitching and a productive start at the plate helped the Ballard baseball team overcome shaky fielding to top South Tama, 7-2, Friday at Tama.
Jack Luster gave up two unearned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in 6 ⅓ innings as the winning pitcher and Brooks Fleischmann threw a scoreless ⅔ of an inning for Ballard. They were backed up by 12 Bomber hits, easily withstanding five Bomber errors to help Ballard win its ninth in a row to go to 9-1 on the season.
Ballard scored two times in the second inning, three times in the third and once in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead. South Tama crawled back within 6-2 in the fifth, but Luster and Fleischmann shut the Trojans down the rest of the way and the Bombers tacked on an insurance run in the seventh.
Sam Petersen tripled, scored and drove in two runs and Cody Wolfe was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs for Ballard at the plate. Connor Finch finished 3-for-4; Nic Edwards was 2-for-4 with a triple, run and RBI; and Luster also went 2-for-4.
Reece Huen singled, walked and scored and Kyler Watson picked up a hit and a walk for Ballard.
Cam Klostermann took the loss for South Tama after allowing six runs on 11 hits with two walks and a strikeout in five innings. Carter Kriegel doubled and drove in two runs for the Trojans.
Ballard 7, South Tama 2
B 023 100 1 - 7 12 5
ST 000 020 0 - 2 7 3
B: Jack Luster, Brooks Fleischmann (7) and Kade Reinertson.
ST: Cam Klostermann, Mickey Wanatee (6) and Cael Kellogg.
2B: B - Luster, Cody Wolfe. ST - Carter Kriegel.
3B: B - Sam Petersen, Nic Edwards.
PERRY - Ballard started hot offensively and finished strong on the mound in a 6-2 victory over Perry June 6 at Perry.
The Bombers scored all six of their runs over the first three innings. Perry scored twice in the bottom of the first, but was held scoreless the rest of the way by Ballard pitchers Connor Finch and Logan Volkmann.
Finch got the win after giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Volkman threw a scoreless seventh with a strikeout and two walks, helping Ballard improve to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the Raccoon River Conference.
Kade Reinertson was 1-for-4 with three RBIs, Brooks Fleischmann singled and scored and Jack Luster picked up a single and a walk for Ballard on offense. Reece Huen also walked twice and scored a run and Cody Wolfe picked up a walk and an RBI.
Keghan West walked seven and struck out three in six innings as the losing Perry pitcher. He was hurt by three Bluejay errors.
Kaleb Olejniczak and Conner Kenyon were both 2-for-3 for Perry with the bat.
Ballard 6, Perry 2
B 231 000 0 - 6 4 1
P 200 000 0 - 2 6 3
B: Connor Finch, Logan Volkmann (7) and Kade Reinertson.
P: Keghan West, Kato Dougan (7) and Conner Kenyon.
WINTERSET - Ballard keeps finding ways to win games, ralling late to down Winterset, 10-6, in eight innings June 5 at Winterset.
The Bombers trailed 5-4 going into the seventh inning. They tied the score in the top of the inning, kept the Huskies off the board in the bottom of the inning and exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth.
Winterset could only counter with one run in the bottom of the eighth, as Ballard won its seventh in a row.
Sam Petersen went 2-for-3 with a double and five RBIs, Reece Huen finished 2-for-3 with three runs and Jack Luster tripled, scored twice and drove in a run for Ballard. Cody Wolfe finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Kade Reinertson singled, walked and drove in a run.
Connor Finch got the win, giving up one run on one hit and walk apiece with two strikeouts in 1 ⅓ innings. Wolfe was the starting pitcher, surrendering five runs — just two earned — on seven hits with nine strikeouts and four walks in 6 ⅔ innings.
Easton Darling took the loss for Winterset, giving up six runs — just one earned — on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1 ⅔ innings. Brock Johnson doubled twice and finished 3-for-4 with two runs and RBIs apiece and Darling went 2-for-4 with three runs for the Huskies.
Ballard 10, Winterset 6 (8)
B 001 030 15 - 10 9 2
W 102 020 01 - 6 8 2
B: Cody Wolfe, Connor Finch (7) and Kade Reinertson.
W: Casey Young, Easton Darling (8), Will Heithoff (8) and Ty Thompson.
2B: B - Sam Petersen. W - Brock Johnson 2, Darling.
3B: B - Jack Luster.
GILBERT - When you’ve been swinging the bat like Ballard, it’s easy not to panic when things don’t go your way in the field.
The Bombers rallied twice to beat Gilbert in a 13-10 slugfest on June 4. It was the Bombers sixth win in a row following a 5-4 season-opening loss to Dallas Center-Grimes.
“We’re really excited about where we’re at,” Ballard head baseball coach Nick Steenhagen said. “It helps to have a group of seniors that wants it really, really bad. We’re having a lot of fun.”
Gilbert led 5-2 going into the top of the fifth inning on Tuesday, thanks to a five-run third. But Ballard didn’t sweat it.
Instead — the Bombers exploded for seven runs in the fifth to go up by four.
Momentum briefly switched back to Gilbert’s side. The Tigers tied the game at 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth after an RBI double from Nick Chasey and RBI single by Matt Barragy.
Didn’t matter. The Bombers turned right around and put four more runs on the board in the top of the seventh, and Brooks Fleischmann sealed the deal on the mound in the bottom of the inning.
Batting from the No. 9 spot in the order, Fleischmann had the hit of the game for Ballard in its big fifth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, he doubled to the gap in right-center field, clearing the bases.
In the top of the seventh, Fleischmann hit a one-out single to get the ball rolling again. He finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.
“One through nine, everybody destroys the ball,” Fleischmann said. “There’s not one guy we don’t believe in.”
Fleischmann has epitomized Ballard’s early success.
After struggling the past two years — he only had one varsity at-bat last year — Fleischmann has emerged as one of the team’s top hitters in his senior year. Through the Gilbert game, he is hitting .450 with nine RBIs.
“Brooks is probably one of my favorite stories,” Steenhagen said. “Being a starter as a freshman, hitting .323 and just consistently and tearing it up. He’s arguably struggled the past two years and I think he’d be the first to admit that. For him to just come in as a senior, win a spot and do it in a way a senior should do it — he’s getting it done in the nine spot. He understands that role, and of course, he’s playing defense and pitching. It’s really fun to see him have the success you want to see out of your seniors.”
Fleischmann has put in a lot of time working on his hitting technique and it’s paying off.
“I’ve been really working on getting my whole body to swing, not just my arms,” Fleischmann said. “Our coaches have been working with us so we’re destroying the ball — not just making contact.”
He’s not the only one seeing results.
Sam Petersen was a perfect 4-for-4 with three doubles and a triple against Gilbert. He drove in the first two runs for Ballard in the seventh inning.
“I’ve been sitting back more,” Petersen said. “Early in the year I was early on a lot of pitches. I had to wait here today and it was clicking.”
Reece Huen went 3-for-4 with two RBIs from the leadoff spot against Gilbert.
“The past couple of games I really haven’t been able to get on, so I’ve been really eager to lead us off and get on base,” Huen said. “I think that really helps. I’ve been working on sitting back, seeing some pitches and making sure I’m hitting the one I want.”
Jack Luster and Kade Reinertson each added two hits. Ballard compiled 15 hits as a team, with six going for extra bases.
The Bombers have scored at least seven runs in all six of their victories.
“The nice thing about this group is they just have about as much confidence as any team I’ve ever coached,” Ballard head baseball coach Nick Steenhagen said. “They know it doesn’t matter who it is — this is an extremely strong lineup.”
Fleischmann gave up one unearned run on three hits with one strikeout in 1 ⅓ innings to earn the win in relief. Nic Edwards was Ballard’s starting pitcher, giving up seven earned runs in 5 ⅔ innings.
Gilbert fell to 5-2.
Jack Borts was 3-for-4 with a double two RBIs and Chasey 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and three RBIs. Bryce Bruggeman was the losing pitcher in relief, allowing four earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts in 2 ⅔ innings.
Ballard 13, Gilbert 10
B 011 070 4 - 13 15 4
G 005 022 1 - 10 12 0
B: Nic Edwards, Brooks Fleischmann (6) and Kade Reinertson.
G: Jared Jensen, Matt Barragy (5), Bryce Bruggeman (5) and Jack Borts.
2B: B - Sam Petersen 3, Fleischmann, Reinertson. G - Borts, Nick Chasey, Easton Johnson.
3B: B - Petersen.
SLATER - A big surge in the middle innings gave Ballard an 8-5 home win over Bondurant-Farrar June 3 at Nite Hawk Field in Slater.
The Bombers rallied from a 3-0 deficit. They tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the third, then cut loose for five runs in the fourth.
Bondurant-Farrar scored twice in the sixth, but could get no closer.
Jack Luster was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI; Cody Wolfe singled and drove in three runs; Reece Huen doubled, scored and drove in two runs and Sam Petersen tripled, scored twice and knocked in a run for Ballard. Brooks Fleischmann ended up 2-for-3 with one run and RBI apiece and Nic Edwards doubled and scored twice.
Luster was the winning pitcher after giving up three earned runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in five innings. Petersen allowed two runs on two hits in one inning and Fleischmann tossed a scoreless seventh with one strikeout.
Brody Sandin took the loss for Bondurant-Farrar after surrendering eight runs — four earned — on eight hits with one strikeout in 3 ⅓ innings. Jordan Collins homered and drove in three runs and Alex Hall was 3-for-4 with a double, run and RBI for the Bluejays on offense.
Ballard 8, Bondurant-Farrar 5
BF 210 002 0 - 5 8 3
B 003 500 X - 8 8 1
BF: Brody Sandin, James Hoyle (4) and Mason Simmons.
B: Jack Luster, Sam Petersen (6), Brooks Fleischmann (7) and Kade Reinertson.
2B: BF - Alex Hall. B - Luster, Reece Huen, Nic Edwards.
3B: B - Petersen.
HR: BF - Jordan Collins.