By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
The Prince of Peace Fighting Irish found themselves hosting Cedar Valley Christian for a doubleheader at Ashford University Field, and they started out their first weekend of the summer on the right foot with two victories — 12-0 and 10-7.
A seven-run second inning highlighted the Game 1 win, which showcased solid offensive and pitching performances for the Irish.
Prince of Peace got ahead early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first on three hits and a fielder’s choice. Cedar Valley looked as if it were going to strike back in its half of the first after three of the first four batters got singles. It was to no avail; a caught stealing, flyout and strikeout ended the threat.
Things really broke open in the bottom of the second for the Irish, who turned things around from the previous night’s 13-3 loss to Camanche. In that inning, the team sent 12 men to the plate to score seven runs.
“I just told them go up and hit the ball, hack at the ball,” Prince of Peace coach Jim Flood said.
A two-run double from Jeremy Peters and an RBI double from Nic Roth were the highlights of a big inning that saw five total hits from the Irish. The team also reached base with a walk and a hit batter and added a sacrifice fly to put it up 9-0. Unlike the previous night, when Camanche put up a bunch of runs in one inning on walks, passed balls, wild pitches and one hit, Prince of Peace was swinging the bat well.
“We were more frustrated last night because we weren’t hitting the ball,” Flood said. The Indians won 5-0 and 13-3. “Tonight we hit the ball, and that’s the difference.”
The Irish added three more runs in the third inning on an RBI single from John Wiesner and two RBIs from an Andrew Jacobs single. The Irish put together 14 hits in the first game, surpassing the 10 they had between two games the night before.
“The team this year has been fielding the ball well. We just haven’t been hitting, and tonight we just started hitting the ball and its starting to come together and I’m very happy about that,” Flood said.
The fielding was solid from both teams in the first game. Prince of Peace committed two errors but was able to get around them with strong pitching from Lucas Laufenberg. Laufenberg pitched all five innings. On his way to earning the win, he recorded eight strikeouts while spreading out five Cedar Valley hits and issuing only one walk.
“I have a good 1 and 2 pitcher (combo). Lucas Laufenberg and Johnny Wiesner throw very well, but we’re such a young team playing doubleheaders. I have to conserve innings so much that I have a lot of young arms that I’m trying to break in,” Flood said.
“Seth Moeller pitched two innings for me today, and he’s an eighth-grader coming in. I have to develop arms. Problem we have right now is lack of depth in arms.”
After Laufenberg’s stellar performance in Game 1, Wiesner stepped to the mound for Game 2, a much closer battle.
Cedar Valley came out swinging against Wiesner, putting up two hits and plating three runs in the first inning before Wiesner settled down and struck out three straight batters to end the inning. Roth cut into the lead in the bottom half with a single that knocked in two runs, putting the score at 3-2 Cedar Valley after the first.
Cedar Valley scratched out two more runs in the second and another in the fourth against Wiesner before he was relieved by Moeller. The offensive attack for Cedar Valley was led by Will Muhlbach who was 4-for-4 in Game 2 with four single, three runs scored and an RBI. Combined with his 2-for-3 performance in Game 1, he had a 6-for-7 night at the plate. Despite Muhlbach’s performance, Prince of Peace’s bullpen was able to limit Cedar Valley to two runs over the last three innings.
“Being young, we have a tendency that when the games are close the pressure gets to them,” Flood said. “It didn’t. They just kept playing, they kept hacking at the ball and that was huge that they just kept playing the game.”
The strong pitching from the Irish allowed them to chip away and get back into the game, taking the lead for good in a five-run fourth inning that saw three errors from Cedar Valley. The Irish added two more insurance runs in the sixth inning, taking advantage of the fourth error of the night from the Cedar Valley defense to secure the doubleheader sweep.
PRINCE OF PEACE 12, CEDAR VALLEY 0
Cedar Valley 000 00 — 0 5 0
Prince of Peace 273 00 — 12 14 2
Evan Koch (5 ip, 14 h, 12 r, 10 er, 4 bb, 7 so) and Josh Rath; Lucas Laufenberg ( 5 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 8 so) and Mike Peters. Multiple hits — Cedar Valley (Will Muhlbach 2, Travis Geels 2), Prince of Peace (John Wiesner 2, Lucas Laufenberg 2, Andrew Jacobs 3, Jeremy Peters 2, Seth Moeller 2). 2B — Prince of Peace (Laufenberg, J. Peters, Nic Roth). RBI — Prince of Peace (Roth 2, Wiesner 2, Jacobs 3, J. Peters 2).
PRINCE OF PEACE 10, CEDAR VALLEY 7
Cedar Valley 320 101 0 — 7 9 4
Prince of Peace 210 502 0 — 10 5 2
Eric Gustafson (3 ip, 2 h, 3 r, 2 er, 4 bb, 1 so), Will Muhlbach (3 ip, 3 h, 7 r, 3 er, 3 bb, 2 so) and Muhlbach, Evan Koch; John Wiesner (4 ip, 6 h, 6 r, 2 er, 5 bb, 7 so), Seth Moeller (1 ip, 0 h, 0 r, 1 so), Devin Bly (2 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 4 so) and T. Dickherber. Multiple hits — Cedar Valley (Will Muhlbach 4, Evan Koch 2). RBI — Cedar Valley (Muhlbach, Travis Geels), Prince of Peace (Nic Roth 2, Andrew Jacobs).