No. 2 Hawks stay unbeaten after another shutout win

Jun. 9—SULLY — After last season's tough loss in the Class 1A state semifinals, Lynnville-Sully head baseball coach Scott Alberts made sure to mention that he felt like his program could be a staple at the state tournament moving forward.

The Hawks graduated four senior starters from last year's 29-2 squad, but this year's team currently has a better batting average, higher on-base percentage and a lower earned run average than that squad.

Lynnville-Sully also is ranked No. 2 in 1A and improved to 15-0 on the season after a 9-0 victory over Iowa Valley on Friday.

"I think we are as good as last year," Carson Maston said. "It's a competitive team. We've always been competitive. We hate losing more than we like to win."

Carson Maston

Maston had four hits in the Hawks' South Iowa Cedar League win over the Tigers. Lynnville-Sully jumped out to an early lead with a trio of runs in the first and second frames and never looked back.

Lucas Sieck pitched six innings and improved to 5-0 as he and Lannon Montgomery combined on a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts.

"Fast ball and curve ball were the ones working," Sieck said. "I didn't really use any other pitches. I know that I have a great defense behind me, and I feel like most of the balls they put in play will be outs. I can trust them to get an out when we need one."

All three of Iowa Valley's errors came in the first inning. Jaiden Richards opened the game with a single, stole second and then took third after an error in the outfield.

Corder Noun Harder also reached on an error that plated two runs and then with one out, Maston delivered an RBI single to make it 3-0.

Terran Gosselink opened the second with a walk and then stole second. Richards also walked and both runners moved up a base after a passed ball.

CJ Nikkel's RBI single made it 4-0 and then an RBI sacrifice fly by Noun Harder pushed the margin to 5-0. A two-out RBI single by Maston extended the lead to six.

Maston finished with four hits, a double, one run and three RBIs and his batting average improved to .478.

"I saw a lot of fast balls and a lot of first-pitch strikes," Maston said. "That's usually the best pitch I get to see in the at-bat so I thought it was a good idea to attack it right away. Then the base runners can decide what to do from there. The goal was to move them around."

Lannon Montgomery

The Hawks (15-0, 8-0 in the conference) added to their lead in the fifth. Maston doubled and Sieck singled before an RBI ground out by Blake Van Wyk and an RBI sacrifice fly by Gosselink improved the margin to 8-0.

In the sixth, Nikkel was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. He stole second, took third on a passed ball and then scored on Maston's RBI single.

Nikkel finished with one hit, three runs, one RBI and two steals and he was hit by a pitch. He leads the Hawks with 25 runs and 14 stolen bass this summer.

Richards tallied one hit, two runs, one walk and one steal, Noun Harder chipped in one hit, one run, one RBI and two steals and Gosselink walked once, scored one run, had one RBI and stole one base.

Noun Harder now leads the entire state with a .641 batting average.

Van Wyk and Sieck got the team's other hits, Van Wyk had one RBI, Montgomery was hit by a pitch and Davis Utech drew a walk. Matthew Mintle scored as a courtesy runner.

Sieck (5-0) allowed just two hits and struck out nine in his six innings. He lowered his ERA to .74 and has 41 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.

Montgomery tossed the seventh and allowed one hit, hit one batter and struck out one.

Sieck registered 1-2-3 innings in the first, third, fourth and fifth. He needed only 64 pitches to get through six innings.

"We came in hoping to keep him under 90, but when we had the option to keep him under 65, we decided to do that," Alberts said. "I was super proud of how he attacked the batters tonight.

"In the past, his downside maybe has been that his non-strike pitches haven't been as competitive as they need to be. But they are super competitive this year, which means he's getting more strike calls."

Nolan Kriegel led Iowa Valley (6-5, 5-2) with one hit and one steal and took the pitching loss after allowing six earned runs in four innings.

"We wanted to get Lannon some work. He has not pitched a lot for us yet, but we are going to need pitching depth next week," Alberts said. "We have six games and a lot of tough competition."

Terran Gosselink

The Hawks are now batting .385 as a team and their on-base percentage is .499. That's an improvement by 24 and 30 percentage points, respectively, from last season.

"Our team offensively is stronger this year than last year," Alberts said. "As good as we were last year, we had holes in our system. This year, one through nine, we are really tough. Opponents will have to respect everyone. We've got doubles, triples and homers from the bottom of the lineup. I feel good about our lineup and our hitting coach (assistant coach Stacey Alberts) is doing a great job."

Notes: The Hawks learned last year what it takes to get to the state tournament and are motivated to get back there in July. "I think we've set a higher expectation, and they've figured out what it takes to get there," Alberts said. "They want to get back there so they are working really hard. Everyone was pretty sore after last year's tough loss. It didn't end well for us." ... Noun Harder missed two games with a knee injury but returned to the lineup for the team's two most recent games. He has yet to return to catcher as Alberts and the coaching staff are working him back slowly and gearing up for a tough competition week. He started in center field against Iowa Valley. "He's not 100 percent yet, and we are taking our time with him," Alberts said. "We want to make sure he's ready to go for next week. Davis (Utech) does a great job for us and there was no hesitation to put him behind the plate." ... The Hawks rank fourth in the state in batting average and seventh in OBP. They lead 1A with nine homers and are tied for first with 166 runs.

Lynnville-Sully 17, English Valleys 6

NORTH ENGLISH — Ten players accounted for the team's 10 hits and Lynnville-Sully used a nine-run second inning to grab an early lead and downed English Valleys 17-6 in five innings on Wednesday.

Nikkel clubbed his first career homer and Samuel Philby registered his first career pitching win in the SICL contest.

The Hawks led 10-0 after two and plated five in fourth and two in the fifth to end the contest early.

"The kids understand how you play during the season affects your ranking and how you are ranked affects your pairings in district play and the pairings affect the path to get to state," Coach Scott Alberts said. "We've always talked to them about controlling your destiny and controlling your path. Every game matters. We are going to go after every single game. The kids are tough. They don't want to lose and it's a gritty bunch."

Nikkel's homer was a grand slam, Richards tallied one hit, one walk, three runs and one stolen base and Montgomery registered one hit, one run, one RBI and one steal. Montgomery now leads the team with 20 RBIs.

Van Wyk, Utech, Gosselink, Philby, Kendric Johnson, Jack Bowlin and Gavin Olea had the other hits.

Corder Noun Harder

Van Wyk scored two runs, had one RBI and walked once, Utech drew two walks, Gosselink tallied one run, two RBIs and one steal and he was hit by one pitch and Philby scored one run, walked twice, had four RBIs and stole one base.

Johnson and Bowlin both doubled and had two RBIs, Olea scored one run and had one RBI and Sieck walked twice and scored one run.

Mintle walked once and scored four runs, Conner Deal walked once and scored one run, Karter Smead scored one run and Maston stole one base.

It was the first career varsity hits for Olea, Bowlin and Johnson and the first career RBIs for Bowlin and Johnson.

"Having a good offense makes things easier," Sieck said. "I know I can give up two or three runs on an off night and we can still win.

"We lost some good players last year who were going to be tough to replace, but we have plenty of guys this year who have stepped up."

Philby (1-0) earned his first career pitching win after allowing two earned runs on one hit and four walks in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out four.

Ethan Dunsbergen tossed one inning and surrendered one unearned run on two hit batters and he struck out one.

Olea also pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed three runs — two earned — on one hit, four walks and one hit batter. He struck out two.

It was the first career varsity pitching appearances for both Olea and Dunsbergen.

Luke Moore, Myles Grove and Colton Mikesell all walked twice to lead English Valleys (0-8, 0-8) at the plate.

Lucas Sieck

Lynnville-Sully 8, Southeast Warren 5

SULLY — The Hawks rallied from an early hole to down Southeast Warren in non-conference action on Thursday.

Lynnville-Sully trimmed the margin to one after scoring a run in the second and then plated four in the third and three in the sixth to win 8-5.

The Warhawks scored twice in the seventh but were limited to three hits in the loss.

"We've got a great offense, pitchers who have stepped up and improved and we know we can go a long ways," Sieck said. "We are playing for the state championship this year after leaving with a sour taste in our mouths last year."

Montgomery belted his second home run of the season, tallied two hits, scored two runs and walked once in the win.

Maston and Sieck both had two hits, while Richards, Noun Harder, Van Wyk, Utech and Gosselink chipped in one hit each.

Maston registered two RBIs, Sieck doubled, scored two runs and had one RBI and Noun Harder scored one run and walked twice.

Van Wyk finished with one run and one RBI and he was hit by one pitch, Gosselink totaled two RBIs and one walk and he was hit by one pitch and Richards chipped in an RBI.

Nikkel and Deal both scored one run and Nikkel was hit by a pitch.

"We filled in some spots and have a ton of depth in our lineup," Maston said. "We are pretty fast, too, so that helps us move guys around."

Maston (3-0) started on the mound. He tossed five innings and allowed five runs — four earned — on two hits, four walks and four hit batters.

Matthew Mintle

Maston re-entered the game in the seventh and faced three batters. He also struck out eight and reached 106 pitches.

Bowlin pitched the sixth and then re-entered the game in the seventh and got the final three outs to earn his first career save. He tossed two innings, struck out four and allowed one hit and one walk

Bowlin's yet to allow an earned run in 8 2/3 innings.

Southeast Warren (4-6) was led by Dalton Spear, who had one hit, three RBIs and one walk and took the pitching loss after surrendering two earned runs in three innings.