STATE CENTER - It took four pitchers, several defensive changes and an extra inning, but South Tama's baseball team picked up an important conference win here Thursday night.
South Tama let an early lead slip away before rallying late, only to see their lead disappear again. STC also used four players on the mound during it's eight-inning contest.
In the end, South Tama got a lead-off walk that eventually scored the game-winning run as it beat West Marshall for a second time this season. STC (13-11) won battle of the Trojans, 9-8.
Grant Koch throws a pitch against West Marshall. He pitched the first two innings on short rest. South Tama won the game 9-8 in eight innings.
"We never got down on ourselves," head coach Seth Koch said. "We scratched and we clawed. Everybody up and down the lineup got something done tonight. It's a nice way to end the conference season. This solidifies it that we'll finish no worse than tied for third. 9-5 is pretty darn good and I feel good for the kids."
With the game tied 8-8, neither team scored a run in the seventh inning. In the eighth inning, Chase Schuett led off with a walk before stealing second base. Noah Bearden moved Schuett to third with a sacrifice bunt.
Grant Koch, who was 4-of-5 at the plate with three hits, a walk and five RBIs, came up and hit an RBI single into the shallow outfield. Schuett scored the eventual game-winning run on the hit.
In the bottom half of the inning, Jacob Clark left the first batter looking at a called third strike. The next batter went down swinging on a third strike. Clark walked the third batter, but struck-out the fourth, ending the game.
"We lost a couple close ones earlier this week, so it was nice to get one tonight," Koch said. "It was nice to bounce back tonight. Jake Clark did a super job of coming in and closing the door in the last two innings. He struck out four of the six batters he faced. He also had a big three-run triple that broke it open early. Chase Schuett was also big for us tonight. He scored twice and stole third. Our seniors stepped for us."
South Tama started the game with a run in the first inning. Kolton Smith led off with a walk. He scored when Koch was walked when the bases were loaded.
Clark scored in the third inning after West Marshall tied the game in the second. Clark scored on an RBI from Schuett.
South Tama scored four more runs in the fourth inning, taking a 6-2 lead. Sam Kuhter, Ian Slagle and Smith scored on a three-run triple from Clark. Schuett's at-bat allowed Clark to score on a passed ball.
"We told the kids if you look up and down the lineup, everybody contributed tonight," Koch said. "Everybody did something. We had an eighth grader come in for the first time on the bases and score a run."
West Marshall wouldn't go quietly into the night. The home Trojans put up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After two outs, STC hit one batter and walked the next. Then West Marshall hit three singles and the offense scored five runs.
"They put a crooked number up in that inning," Koch said. "They did it all with two outs. We had a defensive miscue that let them back in the ballgame. We have to get those things cleaned up, because those things are what bit us Tuesday against BCLUW. We told the kids, 'If you can't get it fixed now at the end of June, you're not going to fix it.'"
South Tama scored two more in the sixth. Smith and Schuett each scored. Smith hit a single and Schuett was walked. West Marshall added one to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning.
STC's coach was proud of his pitchers Thursday, as strikeouts accounted for six of the final 12 outs.
"You have to give Grant credit," Koch said. "We pitched him on one-day rest. He threw four innings on Tuesday. We knew Grant wasn't going to give us more than two innings and he even admitted he didn't have his best stuff tonight. Kolton Smith and Clay Waterbury came in and did what they needed to do tonight. Clay tweaked his back on his last pitched and I asked Jake if he had innings. He said 'yeah I do.'"
South Tama will next play Thursday at Newton, who beat STC 5-2 on Wednesday.