The Lynnville-Sully Hawks wrapped up a huge week of baseball highlighted by signature wins to give them the top spot in SICL play. Coach Scott Alberts’ feelings for his team can be summed up with one word – proud. “I was so incredibly proud of our boys this past week.”
The Hawks’ bats were hot as L-S pounded out 14 hits in a dominating 20-1 road win against English Valleys in five innings on Monday, June 13. The Hawks scored 11 runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.
Junior Bryce Richards drove in five runs on three hits to lead the Hawks at the plate. Junior Conner Maston drove in four runs on two hits. The duo both homered – Maston in the fourth inning and Richards in the fifth – and each had a double. The Hawks’ other hits came off the bats of freshmen Carson Maston and Lannon Montgomery, sophomores Corder Noun Harder, Lucas Sieck, Karter Smead, Davis Utech, and Blake Van Wyk, junior Caleb Rea, and senior Owen Norrish.
Noun Harder was speedy on the bases, leading the team with five stolen bags. Montgomery threw all five innings, striking out seven, walking three, and allowing three hits and one earned run.
L-S and Sigourney, the lone undefeated teams in the SICL going into the night, went head to head in a highly-anticipated match up on Wednesday, June 15. In what was the Hawks’ toughest game so far, they came all the way back from a 7-0 deficit to down ninth-ranked Sigourney.
The Hawks got off to a rocky start, and the Savages capitalized, scoring seven runs in the first two frames. Sieck started on the mound for the Hawks. In the second inning, Conner Maston moved from shortstop to pitcher with runners on base and no outs. He started his work on the mound in the stretch, and pitch by pitch, the Hawks rallied as a team and found their groove.
“We did not get the start that we had planned, but we had planned for challenges facing the ninth-ranked team in the state. We made adjustments and started to work back into the game,” said coach Alberts.
The Hawks held the Savages scoreless in the final five innings and chipped away at the 7-0 deficit one run at a time. Conner Maston reached his pitch count after the sixth inning with the team up, 8-7. Carson Maston was then summoned to the mound for the final inning to try to get the save for his brother’s potential win. Sigourney led off the seventh inning with a single. Carson Maston then utilized his curveball effectively to strike out the next two batters. The third and final out of the game came when Noun Harder threw a dart from behind the plate to Conner Maston at shortstop to catch Sigourney attempting to steal.
Offensively, L-S jumped on the scoreboard with one run in the bottom of the second. Norrish reached base on an error, followed by Carson Maston ripping a double to the fence. Noun Harder and Montgomery drew back-to-back walks after consecutive strike outs, and the Hawks scored one.
The Hawks added two more runs in the fourth inning. Junior Reese Dunsbergen and senior Braden Alberts both walked. Noun Harder singled, which loaded the bases. Sophomore CJ Nikkel, pinch running for Dunsbergen, scored on a wild pitch. Conner Maston reached base on an error, which scored Alberts. The Hawks had another run cross the plate in the fourth, but it was called back due to a controversial interference call.
The Hawks made their most offensive noise in the sixth inning, where they cycled through the batting lineup, scored five runs, and eventually took the lead. Alberts walked twice in the frame, and Noun Harder, Norrish, and Carson Maston also drew walks. Conner Maston hit a two-run single that brought the score to 7-6, and he tied the game up by scoring on a wild pitch. Sophomore Samuel Philby, running for Norrish, scored the winning run on a Savages error.
Conner Maston had three of the team’s seven hits. He went 3-for-4 and finished with three RBIs. Noun Harder, Richards, Norrish, and Carson Maston all had a hit in the win. Montgomery, who was hit by a pitch twice and walked once, tallied an RBI as did Rea and Dunsbergen. Alberts drew three walks and scored two runs for the Hawks.
Conner Maston led the team with two stolen bases. Pinch runners Terran Gosselink and Nikkel each stole a base.
Conner Maston pitched five innings and got the win. He struck out 10, walked four, hit one batter, and allowed two hits and two earned runs. Carson Maston finished the game in the seventh inning and got the save. He struck out two batters and allowed one hit. Sieck started on the mound and faced nine batters in his one-plus innings of work. He struck out one, walked two, hit three batters, and allowed one hit and five earned runs.
“In the end, this team was challenged with great adversity and they did not blink. They just buckled down and got to work one pitch at a time,” said coach Alberts.
The Hawks faced the Keota Eagles, who were also in the hunt for the SICL’s top spot, on Friday, June 17. L-S faced plenty of adversity throughout the game and used the obstacles to further fuel their desire to win.
The game was a battle from the start as both teams matched one another run for run in the first three innings. In the fourth inning, the Hawks inched ahead to grab a 7-5 lead, but the Eagles responded with a three-run fifth to go ahead, 8-7. Lynnville-Sully plated a run to tie the game in the sixth, and both teams went scoreless in the seventh. In the extra inning, the Hawks took the lead after Noun Harder executed a successful open steal home. L-S kept the Eagles scoreless in the bottom of the ninth behind excellent pitching and defense, boisterous support from the dugout, and mental toughness that overcame everything thrown their way.
“We knew that going into the game versus Keota, we were going to see their best pitching and runs would be hard to come by,” said coach Alberts. “In the end, we defended against a suicide bunt attempt and completed a stolen base home to take the lead. A gritty final half inning of defense and the boys stayed undefeated in conference play.”
The Hawks had six hits in the win, led by Noun Harder who went 3-for-5 at bat with one RBI. Bryce Richards went 2-for-4 at the plate and collected two RBIs, as did Conner Maston. Dunsbergen hit a single. Norrish, Alberts, Rea, and Carson Maston all drew walks.
On the bases, Rea and Noun Harder each had two steals. Noun Harder’s open steal of home gave the Hawks the final lead in the eighth inning. Conner Maston and Nikkel also stole a bag.
A trio of Hawks served time on the mound. Sieck started the game and lasted three innings. He faced 17 batters and struck out three, walked four, and gave up three hits. Carson Maston and senior Braden Alberts split time in the final four innings. Alberts showed his senior leadership and was calm, cool, and collected, striking out three of the six batters he saw in 1-2/3 innings and only walking one. Carson Maston finished the game and got the win. He pitched 3-1/3 innings, struck out three, walked three, and allowed three hits.
West Marshall Tourney
The Hawks were back on the field Saturday, June 18, playing on a short rest following their adrenaline-filled road win at Keota. The Hawks faced Class 2A’s PCM and West Marshall on the blazing hot Saturday afternoon.
Against PCM, the Hawks scored four runs in the fourth inning, and tacked on another run in the sixth to claim the 5-2 victory. Montgomery settled in on the mound and pitched a full game, striking out eight, walking just one, hitting one batter, and allowing five hits.
Conner Maston was 2-for-3 at the plate. Noun Harder went 2-for-4. They, along with Rea and Richards, collected RBIs. Rea led the Hawks on the base paths with three stolen bases.
After a quick lunch break, the Hawks were back on the field to take on Class 2A’s ranked West Marshall. The Hawks started the slugfest and collected nine runs in the first frame, including a grand slam off the bat of Noun Harder. West Marshall responded with two runs. The game was tied up at 12 apiece after four innings, and that is when things went south for the Hawks who had five of their hurlers unavailable due to pitch count limitations. West Marshall put up seven runs in the fifth inning and tacked on another run in the sixth. The Hawks fell, 17-13, in their second loss of the season.
Noun Harder led the Hawks at the plate with four runs batted in on the grand slam. He was 1-for-3 at the plate. Montgomery, Conner Maston, Richards, and Norrish each went 2-for-4. Singles came off the bats of Rea, Carson Maston, and Van Wyk. Nikkel stole two bases; Noun Harder and Philby each had one.
The Hawks cycled through four pitchers against West Marshall. Rea started on the mound for the Hawks. He faced 29 batters over the course of four innings, striking out four, walking five, hitting five batters, and giving up six hits and 10 earned runs. Richards made his pitching debut for the season and was on the mound for an inning, striking out two, walking three, and allowing two hits and four earned runs. Sophomore Blake Van Wyk pitched in his first varsity game of the season, as did Dunsbergen who faced six batters in the sixth inning, striking out one, walking two, and allowing one hit and one earned run.
The Hawks have just a few games left in the regular season before districts start on July 2. “Our focus turns to cleaning up little details with each player to help us be our best as we head into the end of the season and prepare to start district play,” said coach Alberts. The Hawks open up district play on Saturday, July 2, at 7 p.m. at home against English Valleys.
Lynnville-Sully will recognize their senior baseball and softball players on Friday, June 24, when the teams play BGM at home starting at 6 p.m. Any child who played baseball or softball with the L-S junior high or youth sports organization is encouraged to support the Hawks by wearing their team jersey and get into the game for just $1.