It was Jekyll and Hyde night at Community Field when Edgewood-Colesburg and Maquoketa Valley tangled in a Tri-Rivers Conference baseball doubleheader, June 26, in Edgewood.
Ed-Co was the beneficiary of nine walks and six Maquoketa Valley errors during an 8-4 win in the opener, before the tables turned in game two. The Wildcats took advantage of the Vikings’ inability to throw strikes in the nightcap and cruised to a 17-7 win that went late into the evening.
“We’ve been talking all year about our energy level and our level of play in game one of doubleheaders this season,” said MV coach Eric Conner. “We tend to be flat and not play our best in the first game and that happened against Ed-Co.”
It was Ed-Co coach Aaron Hamann who was left scratching his head following the second game, after watching the Viking pitching staff struggle to find the plate.
“We sent five pitchers to the mound who collectively walked 15 and hit three batters,” said Hamann. “Couple that with three untimely errors and the game turned into a marathon.”
Ed-Co showed up ready to go in the opening game, scoring a run in the first when Spencer Staner singled and scored on a botched Wildcat pickoff attempt at third, before five MV walks and three Viking singles led to a five-run second and a 6-0 lead.
Carson Knipper led off with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Edmar Cipriano-Cruz. After Staner bunted both ahead, Dayne Bergan walked to load the bases. Alex Jones singled to score Knipper and Ethan Streicher followed with a two-run single. Ed-Co scored two more without the benefit of a base hit, with Streicher scoring on a passed ball for the final run.
The Wildcats found a little energy after a mid-inning chat with Conner in the fourth, and got on the board with a pair of fifth inning tallies. Michael Schaul led off with a base hit, and advanced to third on Blake Becker’s one-out double. Jon Siebert’s ground ball fielder’s choice scored Schaul and AJ Ambundo’s base hit plated Becker to make it 6-2.
The Vikings answered with two more in the bottom of the inning, with a pair of MV errors aiding the cause, to lead 8-2 before Parker Sternhagen’s RBI single scored Owen Mensen in the sixth to make it 8-3. Aspen Kraus’ double scored Siebert in the last inning to make the final 8-4.
Hamann was pleased with the focus of his club in the opener, saying, “It is always exciting to get a win in a rivalry game. Quintin Hess gave us a gutsy performance on the mound showing he is in postseason form.”
“We weren’t real effective on the mound to start the game and we know that is where it begins,” said Conner. “Give credit to Ed-Co for putting the ball in play and forcing us to make plays.”
Hess got the win throwing five innings allowing two runs on seven hits before Staner went the final two innings allowing two runs on four hits. Siebert started for the Wildcats and went 1 1/3 innings allowing four runs on five hits and walking three before giving way to Mensen, who allowed four runs on four hits while walking four. Kraus threw a shutout inning in the sixth striking out one.
Offensively, Ed-Co had nine hits with a 4-for-4 one RBI performance from Jones leading the way. Streicher was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Cipriano-Cruz 1-for-4, Hess and Staner 1-for-3, while Hoeger-Pint and Wright had one RBI.
Maquoketa Valley managed 11 hits, with Sternhagen 2-for-5 with one RBI, Ambundo 1-for-3 with one RBI, Krause 1-for-1 with one RBI, Siebert 1-for-4 with one RBI, Norm Wilson 2-for-3, Becker 1-for-3, Mensen 1-for-2, Andrew Holtz and Schaul 1-for-4.
The Wildcats looked like a different ballclub to start game two, scoring two first-inning runs on a pair of Ed-Co infield errors and an RBI single from Siebert.
Ed-Co closed the gap to 2-1 in the second when Streicher singled and scored, but MV answered with three third inning runs with Schaul hit by a pitch to start things. Wilson reached on another Ed-Co error before Becker walked to load the sacks. Consecutive sacrifice fly balls from Siebert and Ambundo scored a pair of runs and Ambundo scored on a bases-loaded walk to Sternahagen to make it 5-1.
A two-run single from Hess scored Staner and Bergan in the bottom of the third to keep it close at 5-3 before the Wildcats opened things up with four more in the fourth on three base hits and four more walks to make it 9-3.
Two more Ed-Co runs in the bottom of the inning made it 9-5, before a five-run fifth, featuring a double from Becker and RBI singles from Ambundo and Andrew Holtz, stretched the gap to 14-5.
Carson Knipper’s two RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth scored a pair to make it 14-7 before MV finished the scoring with a three-run seventh on five more Ed-Co walks and an RBI single from Miguel Bojorquez.
“We got more of what we like to see from our guys in game two,” said Conner. “We were a lot more effective on the mound and our approaches at the plate were much better.”
Becker got the win in 3 1/3 innings of work, allowing five runs on six hits before yielding to Holtz who allowed two runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Offensively, Ambundo was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Becker 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Holtz 2-for-3 with one RBI, Siebert 1-for-5 with three RBIs, Bojorquez 1-for-4 with one RBI, Schaul 1-for-4 and Sternhagen had one RBI.
For Ed-Co, Bergan took the loss on the hill, allowing five runs on one hit and walking five in three innings. Streicher had a rough outing in relief allowing nine runs on seven hits and walking five in two innings, while Peyton Gaul, Cameron Knipper and Hoeger-Pint finished up.
Offensively, Streicher was 3-for-3 with one RBI, Hess 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Bergan 1-for-3 with one RBI, Carson Knipper 1-for-1 with two RBIs, Cipriano-Cruz 1-for-1 and Hoeger-Pint 1-for-4.
Both coaches will use the doubleheader as a learning tool moving to the late stages of the season.
“Our solid play and progress we showed in game one was overshadowed by the poor play and lack of concentration in the second game,” said Hamann. “The boys need to learn the meaning of complete as it pertains to complete games. We need to work on that as we wind up the regular season.”
“With only five games left in the regular season, we want to be playing our best going into the postseason,” said Conner. “There are some things we need to shore up, but I have confidence we will be playing our best baseball in the coming weeks.”