It didn't take long for the South Tama baseball team to earn its first win of the new season.
In fact, it took just one game into the 2012 season. The Trojans jumped out to a 10-1 lead en route to beating North Tama 11-5 Monday in the season opener.
"I think this is going to help us this season," senior Jacob Clark said. "I think it's a big thing to get the first win and build confidence. It should help us for the whole season."
South Tama senior Jacob Clark earned a win as the Trojans’ starting pitcher Monday. Clark helped the Trojans beat North Tama 11-5 in their season opener.
Photo by Jimmy Gillispie/News-Herald
South Tama's head coach Seth Koch was also thrilled his team won Monday.
"After being 3-30 a year ago, it's nice to get one early," Koch said. "I thought Jake Clark set the tone by coming out and throwing strong in the first couple of innings. We played pretty good defensively behind him and I thought that was the key."
The Trojans' breakout inning was the second inning as they scored four runs on four hits and two walks. Junior Tony Keckler started the inning with a single. Freshman Dalton Doyle followed him with another single, before junior Sam Kuhter's bunt advanced both runners. Junior Kaleb Davenport hit an RBI single, scoring Keckler from third. Doyle scored two batters later, after senior Chase Schuett was walked and Clark hit an RBI single, which scored Doyle and loaded the bases.
Sophomore Kolton Smith was walked next, scoring Davenport from third base. The Trojans' final run of the inning came on a stolen base. Schuett stole home and slid into the plate to score the Trojans' fourth run of the game.
"Like I told the kids, I think the key was when Chase steals home," Koch said. "We got Chase to third. I told him the catcher is going to his knees and if he's doing that, he's being lazy. I told him to read it and if he gets a good jump, then take off. Chase did it about as perfect as you can do it. I thought that kind of spurred us and the kids took it from there."
North Tama scored one run in the top of the third inning, before the Trojans blew the game wide open in the bottom half of the inning. After a strikeout, the next six South Tama batters reached base. Two were walked, two were hit by pitches and the other two reached with a single and double.
All six of the STC players reached base and later scored that inning. Scoring runs in the third inning were Doyle, Kuhter, Davenport, Schuett, Clark and Smith. Freshman Grant Koch hit a 2 RBI single that scored the final two runs of the inning.
"We came away empty in the first," Koch said. "We got the leadoff guys on and moved over to second and third with our four and five guys coming up. Four and five are freshmen, but freshmen who played last year, so you expect them to put the ball in play and push a run across. Then we got a couple in the second and broke it open in the third."
North Tama scored one run and loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning before coach Koch brought in junior Clay Waterbury as a relief pitcher. Waterbury shut down North Tama, allowing only one more run, which kept the STC lead at 10-3.
"Clay (Waterbury) came into a tough situation with bases loaded, but only gave up the one run. Kolton (Smith) came in for the seventh inning and did what he needed to do with a three up, three down. It's pitching and defense. We only had one error defensively and that's huge."
STC added one more run in the sixth inning. Koch scored after reaching first on an error. Smith came in to relieve Waterbury in the top of the seventh inning. He shut down the side with two strikeouts and a ground out to end the game.
"We are coming back with a veteran ball club," Koch said. "It's nice that we have kids who can play different positions. We take Clay off the mound and he hasn't practiced for four days, because of state track, but we stick him at third base. Then he makes the final out of the game. 'Tank' Keckler did a nice job at first base for being inexperienced and his first game. It was nice to see him come up that first time and hit the ball hard."
Clark finished the game pitching a little more than three innings. He struck out four batters and walked just two.
"I can always pitch better," Clark said. "I did some good things and I did some bad things. It's always nice to start at home. People are here at the game and that gets our adrenaline going."
On Tuesday, South Tama hosted Vinton-Shellsburg for its second game of the season. Vinton-Shellsburg jumped out to a big lead with six runs. The Vikings added six more runs later in the sixth inning to win by run rule, 14-2. STC's runs came from Clark in the first and Davenport in the sixth inning. G. Koch had the RBI to score Clark.
The Trojans are back at home on Friday. They host Benton-Community with a junior varsity game at 5:30 p.m. and varsity to follow at 7:30 p.m.