MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (May 19–May 26)
PREP BASEBALL: Fennimore 5–10, Darlington 3–6
By Jason Nihles
FENNIMORE — The Fennimore baseball team is in the midst of a four-game SWAL winning streak that has propelled them to second-place in the conference.
Monday the Eagles (12–7, 8–2 SWAL) rallied to beat host Riverdale and its ace Zeke Chitwood 6–3.
Monday’s win extended Fennimore’s winning streak to four games and helped the Eagles keep pace with SWAL-leading Mineral Point (18–1, 11–0), but wasn’t the team’s most important game of the week.
Saturday, the Fennimore baseball team and the Do It Derek 4 Foundation raised nearly $16,000 for the Grant and Iowa Country Cancer Coalition with its Ks for Kancer fundraiser event for its SWAL doubleheader against Darlington.
Fennimore junior Mark Kenney and freshman sister Tess Kenney lost their father Rob, 55, to cancer March 17.
Darlington senior Carter Lancaster lost his father Aaron, 48, to cancer on March 13.
Steve and Brandi Lendosky’s Do It 4 Derek Foundation accepted donations in Kenney’s and Lancaster’s name in the week prior to the game.
Fennimore players and coaches wore special jerseys — all number 32 (Rob’s high school football number), while Darlington players and coaches all wore number 10 (Lancaster’s Home Talent League baseball number in honor of Lancaster).
“It was a lot of fun to honor Rob that way, especially with two of his kids, Mark and Tess, in our program,” said Fennimore head coach Brent Sheckler. “I’ve never done anything like that before. Rob was a great friend of mine. I never knew Aaron Lancaster, but I knew of him. We got great support from our Fennimore community and the baseball gods gave us beautiful weather, the best this season. And were able to win both games.”
Fennimore rallied from an early 2–0 deficit to pull out a 5–3 win in the opener, then jumped out to an 8–0 lead as the visiting team and held on for a 10–6 victory in game two.”
After the doubleheader, Darlington players and fans traveled to Yellowstone Golf Course in Blanchardville to attend a golf outing fundraiser in Aaron Lancaster’s honor being held by his Home Talent League teammates and friends.
Mark Kenney (3–0) started the opener and pitched four strong innings to earn the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out five.
Darlington took a 2–0 lead in the top of the fourth, but Fennimore regained the lead with three in the bottom half of the inning.
Devin Cole scored the go-ahead run when Macoy Fitzgerald reached on a two-out error. Fennimore increased the lead to 5–2 on a two-run double by Cam Winkers in the bottom of the fifth.
Darlington got a run back on a bases loaded walk in the sixth, but reliever Devin Cole got out of the jam with a strike out and a pop fly to the catcher.
Sophomore Lucas Lendosky, who missed four games with a broken thumb two weeks ago, came on and pitched a scoreless seventh to record the save.
Fennimore opened game two with four runs in the top of the first and four more in the second and coasted to a 10–6 win.
New leadoff man Austin Horn went 2-for-2 with a double and a stolen base and scored runs in the first two innings.
No. 2 batter Druw Fifrick drove in a pair of runs, and senior Warren Adam, who moved from leadoff to the No. 3 spot in the lineup for the first time Friday night, went 1-for-1 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
“Austin has really heated up in the last few weeks and has done a great job leading off so far,” said Sheckler. “Warren has hit the crap out of the ball for three weeks, but he has had incredibly bad luck hitting it right at people. Druw has been hot all year in the two spot. So now Austin and Druw are setting the table for Warren and the rest of the lineup.
“But the bottom of the order has struggled this year. We have tried to bunt and be more aggressive to move runners and get the ball in play, but if we want to win games and make a run in the tournament, we need to hit the ball hard one through nine; not just two or three guys hitting. And we have a better chance to make a playoff run this year than we have in year’s past.”
After a 4–0 non-conference loss at River Valley last Thursday, Sheckler unveiled his new lineup in a 13–3 win over visiting Iowa–Grant on Friday. The win avenged Fennimore’s 3–2 loss to the Panthers at Livingston in the April 27 season-opener for both teams.
Horn went 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBI and three runs scored in his game at lead off. Fifrick finished 3-for-3 with two steals, two runs scored and an RBI, and Adam drove in a pair of runs and scored two more in the win. Kenney, Jacob Henkel, Devin Kreul and Alex Downing also had RBI in the Fennimore victory.
Mason Adkins (2–1) allowed three runs, one earned, on five hits and one walk in the six-inning complete game victory. He struck out seven in the run-rule shortened game.
Monday at Riverdale, Fennimore scored twice in the fifth and chased Chitwood from the game due to the 100-pitch limit, then tacked on two key insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Junior Teagan Napp came on in the bottom of the sixth with two on an no one out in a 4–3 game and got out of the jam with three straight strike outs and also pitched a scoreless seventh to record the save.
“Devin Kreul pitched a pretty good game up to that point, except for a few walks, but entered the sixth with 83 pitches and walked the first two batters,” said Sheckler. “So we went with Teagan and he came in throwing smoke and got us out of the jam. He pitched easily the best I have seen him pitch and he really gave Riverdale problems.”
Fennimore 5, Darlington 3
(from Saturday, May 22 @ Fennimore)
Darlington....000 201 0 — 3 5 2
Fennimore....000 320 0 — 5 6 1
Leading hitters — F: Austin Horn 2x4, Cameron Winkers 2x3 (2RBI). 2B — D: Hunter Hardyman, F: Druw Fifrick, Horn, Winkers 2.
W — Mark Kenney (3–0, 4IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 5K, 1BB). L — Banfield (4.1IP, 4H, 5R, 3ER, 4K, 2BB). SV — Lucas Lendosky (2, 1IP, 1H, 0R, 1K, 0BB).
Fennimore 10, Darlington 6
(from Saturday, May 22 @ Fennimore)
Fennimore...440 010 1 — 10 9 4
Darlington....012 000 3 — 6 6 3
Leading hitters — F: Austin Horn 2x2, Druw Fifrick 1x2 (2RBI), Jacob Henkel 1x2 (2RBI); D: Carter Lancaster, Cayden Rankin 2x2. 2B — F: Adam, Horn, Mark Kenney.
W — Cameron Winkers (2–1, 3IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 4K, 1BB). L — Burbach (1.1IP, 7H, 8R, 7ER, 0K, 2BB).