America's favorite pastime was in full swing for both the STC softball and baseball teams last week. The week was kicked off on Tuesday May 27 as both teams hosted West Marshall for a pair of varsity double headers. Both teams may have been battling some nerves in their first games of the season. The girls saw a defeat of 2-8 in their first game while the boys fell 4-6 to the Trojans of West Marshall. But when those games ended so did all of their first game jitters. The STC Trojan softball players answered back with a 7-6 win.
"What a late night, as the girls did not walk off the field until about 11:30 pm. Tori Appelgate was our leading hitter with 4 hits, including 2 doubles. Sam Holtz added 2 hits, including 2 RBIs. We scored the winning run in an exciting 8th inning. Tori led off with a single that was bunted to second by Madison Baack, she then reached third on an error by the catcher on a swinging bunt by Hailee Weiss. That put runners at 2nd & 3rd with one out. They intentionally walked our clean up hitter Sam Holtz, to bring up our catcher Dani Stubbs. She hit ball up the middle that had some tough spin, their pitcher could not handle it and Tori scored the walk off run, winning the game," said varsity head coach Chelsea Ahrens.
With this the final year in the NICL west conference the girls have high hopes. "We only lost 2 girls last year to graduation, Jade Rohach and Riley Craun. Those two girls will be tough to replace, especially their offensive production. But the good news is we have five seniors returning that have a lot of experience, as some of them have been starters for 4 years for us. We have high hopes this year as our last in the NICL. We would like to finish in the top 4 in conference standings, both AGWSR and East Marshall were 2013 state qualifiers, and BCLUW has been a softball powerhouse for years," said Ahrens.
Grant Koch pitching against the South Hardin Tigers on Thursday May 29.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham
As for last year's record the Lady Trojans are hoping to improve. "We are hoping to improve on our last year's record of 12-21 and finish at .500 or better. We have a lot of potential, experience, and senior leadership. The girls are really looking forward to the season and we just want to go out and improve every game. We also know that we can compete with everyone that we play and have a chance in every game," said Ahrens.
For the baseball teams' second game of the night the boys flipped the table on West Marshall to the tune of a whopping 12-2 victory. STC sophomore starting pitcher Cody Kellogg led the Trojans on the mound with 8 strikeouts and 0 earned runs. Fellow sophomore Colson Frakes also turned in a successful night as he threw two scoreless innings in relief during the first game, while leading his team at the plate with 4 hits across both games. Senior Kolton Smith got his bat going during the second game with two hits (including a triple), 3 runs scored, 2 RBIs, and a stolen base. The West Marshall Trojan Baseball team led the NICL West conference last season with a 21-10 record with South Tama as conference runner-up with a record of 20-11. South Tama graduated seven seniors from last year's roster and will be looking to several younger players to help build on last year's momentum.
Softball: STC vs. Vinton
UNOFFICIAL BOX SCORES
VINTON SOFTBALL (7)
AT SOUTH TAMA SOFTBALL (1)
SOUTH TAMA SOFTBALL AB R H BI
Tori Applegate 3 1 1 0
Madison Baack 3 0 1 0
Hailee Weiss 3 0 2 1
Sam Holtz 3 0 0 0
Dani Stubbs 3 0 0 0
Madie Bacon 3 0 0 0
Kallie Hala 2 0 1 0
Catie Collins 1 0 0 0
Natalie Stadler 1 0 0 0
Naomi Hoskey 2 0 0 0
Belle Tyynismaa 2 0 0 0
TOTALS 26 1 5 1
SOUTH TAMA BASEBALL AB R H BI
Kolton Smith 3 3 1 1
Colson Frakes 2 3 1 0
Grant Koch 4 4 3 3
Dalton Doyle 4 0 1 2
Damon Whitebreast 1 1 1 1
Cody Kellogg 4 1 2 1
Mitch Thede 4 1 2 2
Jonah Bearden 1 0 1 1
Riley Davenport 2 1 0 0
Colton Vest 1 0 0 0
Lane Koch 4 0 1 0
Blake Keller 4 1 1 2
Wednesday May 28
Tori Appelgate got things going for the Trojans in the bottom of the first inning with a solid hit to the outfield for a double. Appelgate was able to steal third and was brought home with a single by Hailee Weiss, putting the Trojans on the board with one run. Unfortunately that would be the only run scored by the Trojans. While the Trojans only had two fewer hits than Vinton, they wer unable to convert many runs.
Sam Holtz, who is coming off a career high shot put performance at State Track and Field, pitched 5 innings for the Trojans and recorded two strikeouts. Kallie Halla relieved Holtz in the fifth inning and allowed no earned runs with one strikeout. Hala also had a nice hit to deep left field for a double late in the seventh inning.
The JV girls took their first victory of the season with a 6-3 win over Vinton with Sabrina Holtz pitching for the Trojans.
Softball and Baseball: STC vs. S. Hardin
Thursday May 29
The Trojans traveled to South Hardin on Thursday May 29 for both softball and baseball JV/Varsity games.
On the baseball diamond, it was a slow first two innings offensively for the varsity Trojans. By the time the third inning came however, the Trojans were ready to let loose.
Rounding out the lineup was Blake Keller who led off with a walk, followed by walks to Kolton Smith and Colson Frakes that would load the bases. STC starting pitcher Grant Koch then helped his own cause by hitting a long fly ball for a double bringing home Keller and Smith for two runs. Koch went on to an excellent overall performance pitching five innings with 1 earned run and seven strikeouts. At the plate, Koch led the Trojans with three hits and three RBIs.
Dalton Doyle was up to bat next for the Trojans. Doyle picked up the first out of the inning but was able to bring in Frakes for the team's fourth run. Fortunately for the Trojans things went from bad to worse for South Hardin starting pitcher Zac Farrell.
With two outs in the inning Mitch Thede hit a single on his second swing at bat, which scored the fifth run for the Trojans. The Trojans would bat through their lineup in the third with three more hits (Riley Davenport, Lane Koch, Keller) and two additional runs (Thede and Davenport).
The Trojans put two more runs on the board in the fourth courtesy of runs scored by G. Koch and Cody Kellogg. In the sixth inning Farrell would walk Frakes and G. Koch to put two runners on base for first baseman Cody Kellogg. Kellogg connected right away and sent Farrell's pitch deep into right field for what initially appeared to be a home run. Frakes and G. Koch would come around to score but the celebration was cut short when the first base umpire ruled the hit a ground rule double, holding Kellogg at second base. The Trojans were now firmly in control of the game with an 11-1 lead.
Leading off in the top of the seventh inning senior Kolton Smith (who also came on to relieve G. Koch in the sixth) got around on the right pitch and sent the ball sailing over the fence for a definitive home run. Following the homer by Smith, Frakes, G. Koch, and Damon Whitebreast all added runs to the 15-2 landslide victory for the Trojans.
"It was kind of a slow start for us offensively, but any time you put 15 runs on the board you have to be pleased with the way the kids swung the bat. Grant Koch and Kolton Smith did a nice job on the mound limiting South Hardin to two runs and only four hits. Both struggled with their control a little bit, but since it was their first time on the mound this season I was pleased with their performance," said head varsity coach Seth Koch.
The Trojan record has been steadily improving since the 2010-11 season, going from 3 wins, to 15, to last year's 20-11 overall record.
"Ultimately, every team would like to reach the state tournament and that is an achievable goal this season. After winning 20 games last season the kids have set that number as a goal they would like to accomplish again this season," said Koch.
Another goal for this year's Trojan team is a conference championship. "I think with our success over the last two years in the NICL, the kids really believe they can win a conference championship this season. It is going to take a concentrated effort and a "little extra" from everyone to compete for that title due to our limited numbers," said Koch.
The current Trojan line-up will largely stay intact for at least the next two seasons with Smith being the lone senior on the team. Six of the 20 team members are currently eighth graders including Colton Vest, Rian Simpson, Nick Ryan, Lane Koch, Tanner Probasco and Jake Wilkerson (several who have already seen playing time). "Overall we have a really good blend of veterans and youngsters in the lineup. The juniors and seniors in the lineup are providing great leadership both on and off the field for the younger guys," said Koch
Moving to the softball field, the Lady Trojans also brought home a 9-3 victory with Sam Holtz pitching all seven innings with only one earned run and six strikeouts.
Second baseman Maddie Baack had three hits, which included a double and two RBI's.
Tori Appelgate scored three runs, had an RBI, and two stolen bases.
Belle Tyynismaa also had two hits, scored two runs and had two stolen bases.
The Trojan baseball team played Benton on Friday May 30 and fell 15-5.