CASSVILLE – With just five games remaining on their conference schedule, the #4-ranked Shullsburg/Benton baseball team moved one step away from locking up the Six Rivers West championship crown after pounding Cassville, 15-3, in Cassville on Monday, May 13.
The Miner-Zephyrs’ 12th straight victory gives them a four-game cushion atop the Six Rivers West standings with five games to go. Their record currently sits at 11-0 in the SRW and 13-1 overall.
Junior Connor Crotty came up big for the co-op on Monday, going 4-for-5 at the plate and driving in five runs and scoring three times after bashing a home run and a pair of doubles.
Crotty singled in a run and scored in a three-run first inning rally that put the Miner-Zephyrs ahead to stay. He added a solo home run in the third, a two-run double in the fourth and another RBI-double in the sixth as the guests put up runs in every inning to bury the second-place Comets (10-4).
Nick Soppe added a RBI-double in the second and Pierce Russell drilled a RBI-triple in the fifth for the co-op.
Junior Nathan Hendrickson earned the win on the mound after yielding just one earned run on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over four innings of work, and he helped his cause by driving in three runs. Crotty worked two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit and two walks along with four Ks.
Soppe and Kyle Hoppman each scored three times for S/B.
The Miner-Zephyrs also posted key league victories over Potosi, 7-3, Albany, 11-1, and Belmont, 14-4, last week to put themselves into prime position to lock up the West title sooner rather than later.
The co-op fell behind the Chieftains 2-0 at home on Tuesday, May 7, until a five-run burst in the bottom of the fifth turned their fortunes around.
Wyatt Cook’s RBI-single brought in Crotty for the go-ahead run, and then Laine Carver followed with a two-run single to extend S/B’s lead to 5-2 and they held on to sweep the season series from the defending champs.
Carver finished 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead the hosts at the plate, while Hendrickson earned the complete-game win after allowing just three runs (two earned) on 11 hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts.
Russell and Hendrickson combined to go 10-for-13 at the plate with 14 RBI and seven runs scored in back-to-back 10-run rule wins over the Comets and the Braves last Friday and Saturday.
Russell went 2-for-2 with three RBI and three runs scored in the 11-1 crossover victory at Albany on Friday, and he was 3-for-3 with another home run and six RBI and two runs scored in the 14-4 win at home over Belmont on Saturday. He blasted a three-run home run against the Comets, and had a three-run triple and a solo home run against the Braves.
Hendrickson went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI in Friday’s game, and he went 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored on Saturday. His three-run double in the first inning opened the scoring against the Comets and his two-run double in the second inning against Belmont highlighted a nine-run rally for the Miner-Zephyrs.
Brett Matye added a RBI-double against Belmont, while Hoppman had a triple and Crotty added a double in Saturday’s game.
Shullsburg/Benton has Six Rivers’ crossover games at Argyle on Thursday, May 16 (4:30 p.m.) and at Monticello (DH) on Friday, May 17 (3:30 p.m.), and at home against Barneveld (DH) on Monday, May 20 (4:30 p.m.) and at home against Black Hawk on Wednesday, May 22 (4 p.m.).
Shulls/Bent… 312 423 – 15 15 3
Casville.……. 200 010 – 2 4 2
Leading Hitters: Kyle Hoppman 3x5, Nick Soppe 2x3, Pierce Russell 2x4, Connor Crotty 4x5. HR- Crotty. 3B- Russell. 2B- Hoppman. Soppe, Crotty (2).
WP- Nathan Hendrickson. LP- Jensen.
At Cassville, on Monday, May 13
Potosi……….. 002 001 0 – 3 10 1
Shulls/Bent… 000 151 x – 7 9 1
Leading Hitters: Laine Carver 2x3.
WP- Nathan Hendrickson. LP- Fritz.
At Shullsburg, on Tuesday, May 7
Shulls/Bent… 341 002 1 – 11 12 0
Albany...……. 000 001 0 – 1 4 3
Leading Hitters: Pierce Russell 2x2, Nathan Hendrickson 3x5. HR- Russell. 2B- Hendrickson (2), Hauser.
WP- Nathan Hedrickson. LP- Pfeuti.
Belmont…….. 013 00 – 4 4 1
Shulls/Bent… 190 32 – 14 11 1
Leading Hitters: Pierce Russell 3x3, Nathan Hendrickson 2x3. HR- Russell. 3B- Hoppman, Russell. 2B- Connor Crotty, Hendrickson Brett Matye.
WP- Matt Cook. LP- Richardson.
At Shullsburg, on Saturday, May 11