By Brenden West Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — GOOSE LAKE – Getting on base – even scoring – wasn’t a problem for Prince of Peace, evidenced by a five-run, two-hit third inning in the opener against Northeast. Where the Irish struggled, Thursday, was in getting outs and cooling the Rebel bats.
Trailing 8-5 entering the bottom of the third in Game 1, Northeast scored 15 runs – 13 before the Irish managed their first out. The Rebels batted through the lineup twice, and pitcher Tevin Stoecker followed with a scoreless fourth inning to end the game early on the 15-run rule, the score 23-5.
Game 2 didn’t fare much better for Prince of Peace, with a Northeast six-run third inning putting the game out of reach at 13-0. The Rebels tacked on four more in the fourth, to make the score 17-0, ending it early despite two Irish runs in the bottom half, 17-2. Northeast posted 40 runs and moved to 15-3, 10-0 in the Big East Conference.
“We were struggling tonight pitching,” Prince of Peace coach Bob Mullholland said. “It’s 8-5 and all of a sudden we couldn’t put it over the plate. And you have to give Northeast credit, they were hitting the ball. They come out and expects to win. You’ve got to have that mentality.”
The Rebels saw sturdy plate performances from younger players not regularly in the lineup. Coach Tyler Howe said Thursday’s games showcased Northeast’s depth and gave people a glimpse into the future of the program.
“It was a good opportunity to get some guys who haven’t had many at-bats at the varsity level some at bats,” Howe said. “Trey Sullivan had some great hits, Jack Murphy -- some nice at-bats -- and Trevor Schaver had some great at-bats.”
While both games ended in blowouts, each one started with either team in the hunt. The Irish blanked Northeast in the first inning. When the Rebels pulled ahead with eight runs in the second, Prince of Peace followed with their biggest inning of the day, fueled by a three-run Nic Roth homer.
“We’ve been struggling at the plate at times and I thought our guys actually came up and hit the ball,” Mullholland said.
Then, the game unraveled. Northeast scored its 13 straight runs in the third inning, aided by several Irish miscues. Three Rebel batters were hit by pitches, another seven were walked. In one sequence, Ben Hildebrandt walked on four pitches, stole second, advanced to third on the throw out attempt, then scored on a wild pitch. The same thing happened for the next batter, Tevin Stoecker, who gave Northeast its 13th run with no batters out in the third.
Game 2 was much of the same story. Andrey Drury gave the Irish their only runs on a gapper to right field in the fourth inning. Trailing 17-2, the game had already gotten out of hand, with four Northeast runs coming on three walks and two wild pitches.
The Northeast stats were gaudy, particularly for Hildebrandt. In Game 2, he racked up three doubles, six RBIs and three runs. Meanwhile, Jared Henfrey dealt three innings with six strikeouts and only three hits allowed.
Northeast travels to North Linn on Saturday for a game before continuing Big East play next week against Bellevue and Lisbon, with a game in between against Davenport North. The Irish (2-12, 0-12 Big East) play at Cedar Valley Christian tonight before hosting Preston in a doubleheader at the Ashford University Field on Monday.
NORTHEAST 23, PRINCE OF PEACE 5
Prince of Peace 005 0 -- 5 5 0
Northeast 08(15) X -- 23 14 1
Lucas Laufenberg (2 ip, 8 r), Jeremy Peters (1/3 ip, 5 r), Devin Bly (1/3 ip, 7 r), Andrew Jacobs (1 ip, 3 r) and Mike Peters; Tevin Stoecker (3 ip, 5 r, 4 h, 4 bb, 4 so), Ryan Livesay (1 ip, 1 h, 1bb) and Zach Scott. Multiple hits -- PoP (John Wiesner 2), Northeast (Charlie Marcucci 2, Ben Hildebrandt 2, Jared Henfrey 2, Matt Haferbier 2). 2B -- Northeast (Cole Dickey, Michael Hartung, Haferbier, Trey Sullivan). HR -- PoP (Nic Roth) RBI -- PoP (Andrew Jacobs, Roth 3), Northeast (Marcucci 2, Hildebrandt 2, Tevin Stoecker, Dickey 3, Henfrey 2, Haferbier 3, Jack Murphy, Nick Wall, Sullivan).
NORTHEAST 17, PRINCE OF PEACE 2
Northeast 256 4 -- 17 13 0
Prince of Peace 000 2 -- 2 5 2
Jared Henfrey (3 ip, 0 r, 3 h, 1 bb, 6 so), Ketzalli Dondiego (1 ip, 2 r, 2 er, 2 h, 1 bb, 1 so) and Zach Scott and Ryan Livesay; Seth Moeller (1 ip, 2 r, 1 h), Andrew Jacobs (1/3 ip, 5 r, 3 h), Nic Roth (2/3 ip, 1 h), John Wiesner (2 ip, 10 r, 7 h, 6 bb) and Andrey Drury. Multiple hits -- Northeast (Charlie Marcucci 2, Ben Hildebrandt 3). 2B -- Northeast (Marcucci 2, Hildebrandt 3). RBI -- Northeast (Marcucci, Hildebrandt 6, Tevin Stoecker, Cole Dickey 2, Matt Haferbier 2, Trevor Schaver 2), PoP (Andrey Drury 2).