CAMANCHE - The Camanche varsity baseball team rebounded from a week of adversity and held off an Easton Valley comeback on Friday night for a 7-5 win at home.
The Indians were coming off of a tough loss at West Branch on Thursday. The non-conference matchup with the River Hawks was originally supposed to be played at NelsonCorp Field, the home of the LumberKings. Because of weather on Friday it was moved back to Gus Witt Field and the athletes had to do a little extra to get the field ready to be played on.
Still, their pitching and offense stayed consistent enough to get the W.
“After a tough loss, you could kind of see the effects of that roll into today,” Camanche head coach Darryl Cochran said. “The weather, we were supposed to play at the LumberKings’ stadium and that’s a let down. I think the kids came out and made plays when they needed, got the outs when they counted.”
Both teams were scoreless through the first inning and a half before the Indians struck. With Easton Valley’s Jessen Weber on the mound, Cade Everson singled down the right field line to put a runner on. Zach Erwin then hit one to Nate Trenkamp at shortstop, who was unable to turn the play which left runners at the corners.
Erwin was then picked off at first, stalling enough to get Everson in for a 1-0 lead.
The Indians, who have kept their offensive power consistent throughout games all season, lit up in the home half of the fourth.
The inning started with a walk delivered by Weber. From there, Logan Shaw picked up a walk, Mike Delzell and Tucker Dickherber singles and Mason Byrns doubled to help drive in four runs and give the Indians at 5-0 led.
They also scored on a bases loaded walk in the fifth and a solo homer from Byrns in the sixth.
“We tell our kids to be aggressive and look for fastballs and we do a pretty good job of that,” Cochran said. “We have some solid hitters up and down our lineup which helps the kids stay aggressive.”
Easton Valley’s pitching lineup and defense had an overall tight performance but couldn’t quite keep up with the aggressive bats. Weber, the starter, had a good night on the mound through six innings. He walked three and struck out two. His tendency to throw strikes just happened to draw contact from Camanche.
“I said trust your defense,” Easton Valley head coach Derek Erwin said about his starter. “He’s going to throw a lot of strikes and a good team like that is going to put it in play. If we’re making plays, we get the job done. We did a pretty good job making plays behind him but that’s a good team and they found some holes.”
The River Hawks’ offense started off slow against Camanche starter Nolan Baker. They were getting runners on inning after inning but didn’t see a run cross the plate until the sixth inning.
“He was solid,” Erwin said. “Did a real nice job of keeping the ball at the knees and when you do that it makes it hard to hit at any level.”
In fact, the River Hawks had two or more runners on base in four of the first five innings against Baker.
“Good composure for Nolan,” Cochran said. “He gave us a few innings, which we needed. It’s been a long week.”
The comeback effort started in the top of the sixth. Reid Hinerichsen drew a walk off of reliever Mike Delzell, followed by an RBI double from Trevor Strait. A grounder from Nate Trenkamp then proved too much for the Camanche infield to handle and he reached first on a defensive error, also scoring Strait.
The River Hawks drew two more walks in the top of the seventh, helping them score three more runs before falling short.
“That’s something we’ve done very well all year,” Erwin said. “Being selective, getting our pitch, and we did that. Once the runs start falling they really start falling.”
Easton Valley also got hits from Conor Gruver, Trenkamp and Holdgrafer in the seventh. Like the rest of their night, though, they ended leaving the go-ahead run on base.
“It’s a mental thing, I would say,” Erwin said. “Get that two-out clutch hit. Once you get that, the next guy comes out and it’s easier because the pressure is off of him. Once they realize it’s a children’s game things start going pretty well.”
The River Hawks (12-13) return to conference play on Monday with a doubleheader at Maquoketa Valley. The Indians (11-6) have another non-conference game on Saturday afternoon, taking on Clinton High School at the Durgin Complex.