By Steve Peterson
The Akron-Westfield baseball team’s week of three games included as many comeback victories.
Against West Sioux
The Westerners outlasted West Sioux, 11-8, on June 7 after spotting the Falcons’ leads of 4-0 and 8-4.
No problem for this Westerners’ bunch, who also rallied with four runs in the ninth inning to beat Spalding Catholic of Granville, 16-15, on June 3 and beat Gehlen Catholic of Le Mars, 3-2, after the Jays took the early lead on June 5. All games were War Eagle Conference wins.
“Chet Willer and Gregg Taylor both had big hits. Cory Eskra told me in the seventh inning when he came in to pitch, ‘I’ve got this.’ The team is playing well with a lot of confidence now,” said A-W Head Coach Gordy Johnson.
We battled,” said West Sioux Coach Brian Engleman, praising his team’s battling nature. “But if there is one other team I’m rooting for, it’s A-W. We would like to emulate their program.”
A-W improved to an 8-3 record after the win. WS was 1-8 overall.
A-W trailed as late as 8-6 in the fifth inning but scored five runs in that frame to take command.
Spencer Frankl started the inning as he reached on an error; Jacob Neubrand walked with one out and Devon Myers put down a bunt for a hit to load the bases. After another out, Cory Eskra gained the Westerners an 8-8 tie with a two-run single. After a walk to Chet Willer, senior Gregg Taylor brought all three runners home with a long double for an 11-8 margin.
West Sioux had one runner on base but did not score in the sixth inning after a Porter Hummel walk.
In the seventh, Taylor got the first batter out on a strikeout and after a double by Mitch Schlumbohm, who had a big night for the Falcons. A walk brought the potential tying run up with one out. Cory Eskra struck out one hitter and a ground out play ended the contest.
Early on it looked like it would be the Falcons’ night as aggressive WS hitting and some miscues by the Westerners added up to a 4-0 lead after two innings.
With two out, Braedon Petersen walked and later scored; Hummel reached on an error and scored; Justin Stoltenberg singled and scored and Tucker Vander Feen had an RBI single. In the second Jett Boyer singled and scored, there were three walks and one fielder’s choice.
A-W gained a 4-4 tie in its half of the second inning.
Frankl walked to start the inning. Aaron Allard also walked; Jacob Neubrand reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored a run; Devon Myers reached on an error and later scored; Cole Oltmanns had an RBI single for a 4-2 deficit; Cory Eskra walked and Willer then tied the game with an RBI single.
West Sioux responded with two runs in their third inning. Justin Negaard walked and later scored; Schlumbohm had an RBI double and Kezden Blankenship had an RBI single.
A-W game totals
For A-W, Willer was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one walk.
Taylor was 2-for-3 with two doubles, four RBIs and one walk.
Frankl scored one run and had two walks.
Aaron Allard scored one run and had two walks.
Neubrand scored two runs and had two walks.
Oltmanns was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and one walk.
Cory Eskra was 1-for-3 with one run scored, one RBI and one walk.
Myers was 1-for-4 with two runs scored.
A-W had seven hits and 10 walks.
On the mound Taylor was the starting pitcher. He threw for one-and-two-thirds innings, giving up three hits, three walks, and struck out one. Caleb Colt was next in relief and got the win as he worked for three innings, giving up one run, with two walks and struck out four. Spenser Wardrip worked for two innings and gave up one hit, three runs, two walks and had two strikeouts. Cory Eskra got the final two outs, giving up one walk and striking out one.
WS 3-1-2-1-1-0-0- 8
The Falcons battled Hinton in a WEC showdown June 10.
The Westerners led the WEC going in with a 7-0 league record. The Blackhawks were one game back at 7-1 record in WEC games and 8-2 overall.
The Westerners host Remsen Union June 12 and Unity Christian June 14 at 6:00 p.m. and are at South O’Brien with a 4:30 p.m. start June 17.
A-W team statistics
Here are some statistical highlights through 10 games for the Westerners.
The team had 76 hits in 277 at-bats.
A-W has 11 doubles and three home runs for extra-base hits; 41 RBIs; two sacrifices; 36 walks; 58 strikeouts; 16-for-21 in stolen bases; 11 hit by pitch; 0.380 on-base percentage, 0.347 slugging percentage and 0.274 batting average.