Blue Devil baseball team gets a split

Published 8:56 pm Friday, April 3, 2009

The Blue Devil baseball team bounced back from a tough outing to pull off a win over Northland Community College Friday at Dick Seltz Field.

RCC (11-4 overall) dropped the opener 6-1, but won the night-cap 5-0.

In the win, Riverland came out swinging as Jeff Huth knocked in two runs with a first inning double. RCC led 3-0 after one and Brady Banse took control the rest of the way as he allowed just four hits in a shutout win.

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“We put up a lead and then I did work to keep it there. I had all of my pitches down and that was a plus,” Banse said. “They had some hits, but my defense was really solid. As a pitcher you’ve got to love that defense.”

RCC head coach Scott Koenigs was pleased with how Banse, a sophomore, stepped up.

“Brady was throwing first pitch strikes and getting ahead of the hitters. He made them lunge for pitches and forced a lot of ground balls,” Koenigs said.

The first loss gave Banse some extra motivation heading into his start.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence so we expect to come out and win every time. When we don’t get that ‘W’ we’ve got to come back and get that second game,” he said.

In the first game, RCC mustered just two hits and struck out 10 times against NCC’s ace Kyle Nowacki. Koenigs said it came down to a simple issue of some of his hitters swinging at some bad pitches when they were ahead of the count.

“We’re supposed to be looking fastball on 1-0 and 2-0 counts, yet the kid was throwing curve balls on those counts and we were swinging at them. That’s why a couple of guys sat in the second game,” Koenigs said.

After pitching three scoreless innings, Mitch Jaeger had a slight breakdown in the fourth inning. After getting the first two hitters out of the frame, he allowed three straight two-out singles and NCC got on the board on a passed ball. Jaeger struck out NCC’s John Thorson with runners on second and third to get out of the jam.

Everything caught up to Jaeger in the fifth inning, when he let the first two hitters on with a walk and a hit batsman. Doug Peterson of Northland made Jaeger pay with a two-run single and Peterson scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-0 hole.

“Mitch pitched really well and he gave us a chance to win,” Koenigs said. “We just absolutely came out flat. It was just an uninspired game and it was probably good for us. Maybe we came in thinking we would have an easy time.”

Riverland’s best chance to rally came in the bottom of the fourth when Kyle Starkey walked and Derek Hahn singled with one out. But RCC couldn’t get anything else in the frame.

“Their pitcher was successfully wild and he kept our hitters off. He was throwing his slider for a strikes and he did a good job,” Koenigs said.

Andy Behnke had a triple in each game for the Blue Devils, giving him seven for the season.

Although it was a cold and windy day, Banse chose to go with the short sleeve look in the second game. And he never hesitated.

“I hate the long sleeves. I don’t care how cold it is, I’ll wear the short sleeves,” Banse said. “It wasn’t that bad out there, but we’d all like to play with it eighty-five degrees and humid.”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

NCC 0 0 0 1 3 2 0 — 6 12 2

RCC 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 —1 2 2

Riverland pitching: Mitch Jaeger (L), 5 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 HBP; Kody Retterath, 2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP

Riverland hitting: Zach Vliestra, 0-for-2, SB; Chris Lindemann, 0-for-3; Kyle Starkey, 0-for-2, BB; Derek Hahn, 1-for-2; Andy Behnke, 1-for-3, triple, R, SB; Shane Lange, 0-for-3; Derek Emanuel, 0-for-3, RBI; Brian Voigt, 0-for-3; Shane Pape, 0-for-2

Northland pitching: Kyle Nowacki (W), 7 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 10 K

Northland hitting: Jordan Espeseth, 1-for-3; Doug Peterson, 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Nowacki, 1-for-4; John Grecier, 4-for-4, RBI, R; Andrew Freyer, 1-for-3; Jake Kiehke, 1-for-2, RBI; John Thorson, 0-for-2; Jeff Weiss, 1-for-1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

NCC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 4 2

RCC 3 1 1 0 0 0 X — 5 7 2

Riverland pitching: Brady Banse (W), 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 HBP

Riverland hitting: Zach Vliestra, 2-for-4, double, R; Kyle Starkey, 1-for-2, BB, RBI, R; Derek Hahn, 1-for-3, double, R; Andy Behnke, 1-for-3, triple, RBI, 2 R; Jeff Huth, 2-for-2, double, 3 RBIs, BB