RCC baseball team sweeps Iowa Lakes

Published 8:42 pm Friday, April 17, 2009

After showing their power in the first game, the Blue Devil baseball team showed it’s mental toughness in the nightcap in a two-game sweep over Iowa Lakes Community College at Seltz Field Friday.

Riverland (22-7 overall) took the first game 10-0 in six innings and gutted out the second contest 3-2.

The Lakers scored a run in the top of the seventh of the nightcap to make it 3-2 and they had the tying run on first. But Southland grad Brian Voigt froze Michael Vega, who had tripled in his last at-bat, with a curve ball to end the game.

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“That was probably the best curve ball of the game,” said Voigt, who struck out nine. “It went right down in there and froze him.”

Things didn’t start off so well for Voigt as he threw eight straight balls to open the game and after he allowed a single to Jose Mercado, the Lakers had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the first. But Voigt struck out the next to hitters to escape the jam.

“I just relaxed a little bit and started throwing without aiming,” said Voigt.

The Blue Devils took the lead for good in the bottom of the third with a little help from ILCC. After Zach Vlietstra was picked off for the first time all season for the second out of the inning, Voigt hit a harmless pop fly. But the Lakers dropped the ball and RCC got three straight two-out hits, including an RBI-single from Brandon Huhn and a two-run single that Andy Behnke lofted over the shortstop’s head.

“I was down two strikes so I shortened my swing a little bit. I just had to get it over the infielders,” said Behnke, a Marshall grad.

A little defense helped RCC avert disaster in the top of the sixth when ILCC’s Ronaldo Camacho was thrown out at home trying to score from first on a triple by Vega. Huhn made a big throw from the outfield to relay-man Winston Smith, who got it in to catcher Derek Emanuel, who made the tag at the plate.

“Brandon’s had arm problems, but he let that one fly. That was good to see,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said.

Still ILCC put a run on the board on a two-out run scoring single. But Voigt struck out Nickolas Loftis to end the frame.

Koenigs said Voigt has made some serious strides since coming to Riverland.

“The thing with Brian is, he’s been a thrower his whole life and we’re trying to get him to understand the pitching aspect of it, like switching speeds and spots,” Koenigs said. “You can’t always rely on the fastball. He’s (switching it up) more and he’s becoming a pretty good pitcher.”

The first game saw the Blue Devils turn a close matchup into a blowout as they belted three homers. Emanuel hit a deep solo shot to right field in the second to make it 2-0, Shane Pape of Winona hit a three-run shot to center field to make it 8-0 in the fifth, and Behnke drilled a two-run shot to left to instigate the 10-run rule in the sixth inning.

Behnke finished three-for-three with a double and three RBIs to go along with his bomb.

“Some days you’re just seeing the ball,” he said. “I was having a good day and everybody seemed to be having a good day in that first game. We were really sticking it to them and playing our game.”

Behnke and the Blue Devils were not surprised that the Lakers gave them a much tougher game in the second contest.

“We expected them to come back,” he said. “They’re a Division II team and we’re Division III. I think they came in a little overconfident and we capitalized on that.”

1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E

ILCC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2

RCC 1 1 0 2 4 2 10 8 0

RCC pitching: Zach Prins (W), 6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 1 K

RCC hitting: Zach Vlietstra, 0-for-3, SB, BB; Chris Lindemann, 0-for-2, R, BB; Kyle Starkey, 2-for-3, double, 2 RBIs, R, BB; Brandon Huhn, 0-for-4; Andy Behnke, 3-for-3, HR, double, 3 RBIs, 2 R, BB; Brian Voigt, 1-for-2, BB; Shane Lange, 0-for-3, R; Derek Emanuel, 1-for-2, HR, RBI, R, BB; Shane Pape, 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBIs, 2 R

ILCC pitching: Edgaro Ramirez (L), 5 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 8 R, 6 ER, 3 K

ILCC hitting: Michael Vega, 2-for-3; Ronaldo Camacho, 1-for-2; Jose Mercado, 1-for-2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

ILCC 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 7 2

RCC 0 0 3 0 0 0 X 3 4 2

RCC pitching: Voigt (W, 3-0), 7 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 R, ER, 9 K

RCC hitting: Vlietstra, 1-for-3; Voigt, 0-for-3, R; Starkey, 1-for-2, R, BB; Huhn, 1-for-3, RBI, R; Behnke, 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Lange, 0-for-1, BB; Pape, 0-for-2; Emanuel, 0-for-3; Winston Smith, 0-for-1, BB; Kody Retterath, 0-for-1; Mitch Kaplan, 0-for-1

ILCC pitching: Cullen Brennan (L), 6 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 R, 0 ER, 5 K

ILCC hitting: Camacho, 2-for-3, RBI; Vega, 1-for-4, triple; Mercado, 1-for-2; William Herndandez, 1-for-3