Bombers rally past Comets in wild rivalry game

Story and photos by Joe RandlemanStaff Writer
Bombers rally past Comets in wild rivalry game

SLATER - A couple timely doubles from Clayton Poots and a gritty pitching performance by Marcus Chieves enabled Ballard to win a wild 14-9 game with rival North Polk June 28 at Nite Hawk Field in Slater.

Poots smacked a two-run double in both the fifth and sixth innings as part of an 11-run outburst over those two frames to put Ballard ahead to stay. Chieves withstood a slow start and a late home run from Brett Haun to get the victory as Ballard improved to 15-8 and earn its second win in a row over the traditional powerhouse Comet program.

“It was a pretty crazy game,” Poots said. “To think that we give up nine runs and we score 14. To come back and win and just keep fighting with our bats was pretty intense. It was a great win all around for the whole team.”

North Polk held a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Comets scored five times in the first inning behind a two-run single from Nate Johnson and two RBI by Matt Cox. They added another in the second when Cox walked and scored on a ball hit by Lucas Leopold.

Ballard’s first three runs came in the first inning. Taylor Roberts doubled in a run and eventually scored on an error and Austin Edwards also drove in a run for the Bombers.

Both Chieves and North Polk pitcher Ben Rupe settled down over the third and fourth innings. After Chieves retired the Comets in order during the top of the fifth, the Bomber bats re-awoke in the bottom of the inning to the tune of six runs.

Roberts hit an RBI double, Edwards smacked an RBI triple, Lane Shaeffer singled in a run and Poots came up with the big hit of the inning as he ripped a two-run double to left field.

Courtesy runner Nick Fopma eventually scored on a Gannon Manfull single to give Ballard a 9-6 lead.

In the top of sixth, Haun’s heroics tied the game back up. Max Karpinske walked, Johnson was hit by a pitch and then a wild pitch, and a passed ball put runners at second and third with two outs.

Haun then stepped to the plate and drilled a Chieves’ pitch to left field. The ball stayed on line and bounced off the foul pole and over the fence in fair play.

“We responded pretty well,” North Polk head coach Dave Middleton said.

But in the bottom of the sixth, Poots came through big again to ignite another explosive Bomber inning. Cox came into to pitch for Rupe in the inning and he could never solve Ballard’s explosive offense.

Ballard loaded the bases with no outs in its half of the sixth after Chieves walked, Edwards singled, Lane Shaeffer hit an RBI single and Max Shelton drew a walk. Brooks Fleischmann then drove in a run after safely reaching on a fielder’s choice to keep the bases loaded.

Poots stepped into the batter’s box and ripped another double to right field. His hit drove in two more runs to break the game open.

“It felt pretty good to do it twice,” Poots said. “The first one we got up and then they got up. Then they came back so it was kind of do or die, and I drove in that second one. It was just a good play all around.”

Ballard’s final run of the inning came on a wild pitch. The Bombers ended the game with 14 hits - including five extra-base knocks.

“They stayed back on the baseball and swung at strikes,” Middleton said. “Pretty much those fifth and sixth innings, they just lasered everything. Even the balls that went up in the air went a long way. They just stoned them. We’re trying to do that. We’re getting there - but we’re just not like that. They’re a good baseball team.”

Poots went 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBI. Edwards was 3-for-4 with two runs and RBI apiece, Kobe Schulze finished 3-for 5 with two runs and Roberts was 2-for-5 with one run and RBI apiece for the Bombers.

Shaeffer went 1-for-3 with a run, walk and two RBI. Fleischmann was 1-for-3 with two runs, a walk and an RBI and Shelton wound up 1-for-3 with two runs. Manfull added a single and an RBI.

It wasn’t just with the bats that Ballard did damage. The Bombers also totaled seven steals as a team.

Noah Rosing was a terror on the base paths for Ballard. He scored three times and also stole two bases.

“You’ve just got to get a good jump, read the pitcher well and make sure you get there,” Rosing said. “I do my best to run, get some steals for the team and get myself in scoring position.”

Manfull, Edwards, Shaeffer, Shelton and Fleischmann each had one steal apiece.

Chieves gave up five earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and five walks in seven innings to earn the win. Haun’s home run was his only costly mistake of the game after the rough first inning.

“Marcus Chieves, he gritted his teeth and came back from the first inning,” Poots said. “We got up for him and kept riding the horse out. He was pitching just fine after that first inning.”

Haun, Cox, Rupe, Colby Cupp, Karpinske and Johnson each ended up with one hit for North Polk. Haun had two runs and three RBI, Karpinske tallied two runs and one RBI, Rupe drove in one run, Cupp scored once and Johnson finished with two RBI.

Ryan Spaulding and Anthony Capaldo each added one run and Leopold tallied one run and RBI apiece.

“We’ve got a great group,” Middleton said. “Honestly, we’re still trying to find a batting order and a lineup that gives us the best opportunity in July to be successful.”

Rupe allowed nine runs - eight earned - on 11 hits with five strikeouts and three walks in five innings. Cox gave up five runs on three hits with three walks to take the loss and Deitch threw one scoreless inning with one strikeout for the Comets.

Ballard 14, North Polk 9

NP 510 003 0 - 9 6 3

B 300 065 X - 14 14 3

NP: Ben Rupe, Matt Cox (6), Dawson Deitch (6) and Matthew Antle.

B: Marcus Chieves and Clayton Poots.

WP: Chieves.

LP: Rupe.

2B: B - Poots 2, Taylor Roberts 2.

3B: B - Austin Edwards.

HR: NP - Brett Haun.