Riverland holding its own at Expo

Published 11:18 am Monday, March 16, 2009

So far so good.

The Riverland baseball team has played its way to a 3-0 start this season following three solid wins at the Cocoa Expo in Cocoa, Fla this past weekend.

The Blue Devils began play on Saturday and are scheduled to play a total of 13 games at the Expo during a seven-day stretch that ends this coming weekend.

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“I’m very happy,” said Scott Koenigs, Riverland head coach. “We’ve played some tough teams, and it doesn’t get any easier. I’m really happy to start out 3-0.”

Playing three games in two days, Riverland started it off by defeating Massasoit from Massachusetts, the nation’s No. 8 ranked team in Division III community college, by a score of 2-1.

The Blue Devils then played a doubleheader Sunday, beating Jamestown from New York 7-1 and topping the No. 10 team in the country, Allegheny out of Pennsylvania, 14-4.

Against Massasoit, Brandon Huhn pitched a three hit, one-run game for Riverland, while striking out 11 and walking two. Huhn had a shutout heading into the seventh.

“We did not have an error, so our defense played well behind him,” Koenigs said.

Against Jamestown, the Blue Devils were also paced by Huhn, who went two for three at the plate and belted his first home run of the season. Huhn broke the Riverland single-season home run record last year with eight.

Kyle Starkey went three for four at the plate, while Mitch Jaeger earned the win on the mound with a five-inning performance that included six strikeouts.

Against Allegheny, Brady Banse was the winning pitcher, with a five and one-third innings performance, while recording three strikeouts.

On offense, Starkey was three for three, including two doubles; Zach Vlietstra went two for four; Shawn Pape was two for four; while Jeff Huth and Mitch Kaplan went a combined four for eight with one home run apiece.

The Blue Devils return to action today and will play a doubleheader every day for the rest of the Expo. The competition includes two more ranked teams at the Division III level and four Canadian all-star teams.

Coach Koenigs, in his eighth season at Riverland, says he likes what he sees from his players.

“I am very please with our performance,” he said.

The Blue Devils were 19-11 last season.