SOUTH WAYNE — The Potosi/Cassville baseball team continue its domination by clinching to co-op’s first Six Rivers West title with an 11–1 victory over Black Hawk Friday afternoon.
Senior Robby Roe (7–1) struck out nine and allowed one run on two second-inning singles to pick up his seventh victory of the season.
Roe singled and junior Preston Steiner walk, and both came in to score on a two-run double by Logan Kruser in the top of the second inning.
Senior shortstop Sam Udelhofen hit a sac fly to drive in sophomore Eli Adams in the top of the second.
The Chieftains added two more in the third on a Black Hawk error and an RBI single by senior third baseman Ashton Spitzack to make it 5–1.
Steiner added an RBI single in the fourth, and Ethan Kerkhoff lined a two-run single to right field and Spitzack added a two-run double later in the inning to make it 9–1.
The co-op put the finishing touches on its title-clinching win with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on another Black Hawk error and an RBI single by Spitzack.
Spitzack (3x3, 3 RBI) and Kruser (3x4, 2RBI) each had three hits and multiple runs batted in for the recently crowned conference champs.
The Chieftains improved to 15–5 overall with their eighth-straight victory and finished 11–2 the Six Rivers Conference (two games against each West opponent, and one against each SRE foe) to edge out Belmont (14–7, 10–3) for this year’s league title.
Potosi last won the SRW title in 2012 under legendary coach Ron Kading, who led the Chieftains to a 21–4 mark and a 21–1 record in the SRC. The Comets last won a conference title in 2010.
“Winning the conference is a goal we set at the beginning of each year and these guys all put in the work,” said Potosi/Cassville head coach Tony Leibfried who took over in 2019 the same year the co-op was formed. “This team has great chemistry, a brotherhood we like to call it and it starts with the seniors who drive this ship. We have a fun group to be around and a great group of coaches to coach with and they all bought into believing that we were going to win the conference championship.
“It was fun to be a part of this journey. We had the opportunity to enjoy that accomplishment and now we have other goals to go after, the work is not finished. The guys know this and we have to refocus and start to prepare for a playoff run.”
The Chieftains earned the #4 seed in their WIAA Division 4 half-sectional and will host #5 Highland (10–9, 6–6 SRC) in a regional quarterfinal Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to face top-seed Seneca (16–3) in a D4 regional semifinal Tuesday at 5 p.m.
#2 Wauzeka–Steuben hosts #7 River Ridge and #3 Riverdale hosts #6 Iowa–Grant in Thursday’s opening round on the other half of the regional bracket. The regional finals are scheduled for Wednesday, June 1.
“This is a very competitive regional, there are two Ridge and Valley teams who have very good records and strong pitching, a couple of SWAL teams who play stiff competition night in and night out who will have something to say about this regional,” added Leibfried. “Then we have us, Highland, and River Ridge who all have talented hitters and pitchers.
“We have to play a very dangerous Highland team who has some very talented young men and I am sure they are looking to upset us and make a statement. We have a good rivalry going with Highland and we all know in rivalry games it will be the team who can execute the best that night who will come out victorious. We will start to prepare this week to make sure we can execute the little things moving runners, coming up with a key hit, not allowing free bases, throwing strikes, and trusting our defense. If we do the little things well, we can go a long way.”
Potosi/Cassville opened last week with a 20–5 blowout win at Shullsburg/Benton then beat Highland 10–5 Tuesday afternoon.
The Chieftains rallied from an early 2–0 deficit to build a 10–2 lead with four runs in the top of the sixth.
Kruser went 3-for-4 and Kerkhoff (2x3, 2 RBI), Nick Hampton (3 RBI) and Spitzack (2 RBI) each had multiple RBI in the win.
Thursday the Chieftains swept a pair of games at Monticello/Albany 12–0 and 14–4, and junior Preston Steiner broke some kind of unofficial record with a five-inning no-hitter than spanned six days.
Game one of the doubleheader originally began Friday, May 13 before the it was suspended by rain with the Chieftains leading 8–0 in the top of the fourth inning and Steiner holding the Ponies hitless through three innings.
Steiner returned to the mound six days later and was even sharper the previous meeting, striking out the first five hitters he faced Thursday to compete the two-day no-hitter.
Steiner finished the game with a combined 11 strike outs and six walks. He also drove in a run, and Adams finished 2-for-3 with three RBI.
“Preston did a nice job being able to take the mound for the second time against Monticello/Albany after being rained out the previous Friday night,” said Leibfried. “The goal was to allow him to come back and finish the job, and with the help of our other pitchers, Eli Adams, Levi Groom, Robby Roe, and Logan Kruser, we were able to get through the two teams we played on Monday and Tuesday, setting up Preston’s opportunity to finish what he started. Preston did a fantastic job on Thursday night taking care of business.
Potosi/Cassville (15–5) finished the regular season with a 4–2 victory at Seneca, the top seed in the Chieftains’ regional bracket, Monday afternoon.
Adams (7–1) struck out eight and allowed just two runs in 52/3 innings to earn the win, while Steiner came on in the sixth and recorded the final four outs for the save.
Udelhofen and Steiner had RBI hits in the top of the third, and Joe Vogelsberg added an RBI squeeze bunt in the fourth to make it 3–0.
Potosi/Cassville 10, Highland 5
(from Tuesday, May 17 @ Highland)
Potosi/Cassville..032 014 0 — 10 12 3
Highland...............200 000 3 — 5 5 0
Leading hitters — P/C: Logan Kruser 3x4 (RBI), Ethan Kerkhoff 2x3 (2RBI), Nick Hampton 1x3 (3RBI), Joe Vogelsberg 3x4; H: Joseph Bomkamp 2x2. 2B — P/C: Kerkhoff, Hampton, Ashton Spitzack; H: John Dreischmeier.
W — Robby Roe (6–1, 5IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, 5K, 0BB). L — Bennett Smith (5IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 1K, 3BB).
Potosi/Cassville 12, Monticello/Albany 0
(from Thursday, May 19 @ Albany)
Potosi/Cassville......233 04 — 12 11 0
Monticello/Albany..000 00 — 0 0 3
Leading hitters — P/C: Sam Udelhofen 3x4 (RBI), Logan Kruser 1x2 (2RBI), Eli Adams 2x3 (3RBI), Ashton Spitzack 2x3 (RBI). 2B — P/C: S. Udelhofen, Preston Steiner.
W — Preston Steiner (2–2, 5IP, 0H, 0R, 11K, 6BB). L — Carson Gafner (3IP, 9H, 8R, 4ER, 3K, 1BB).
Potosi/Cassville 14, Monticello/Albany 4
(from Thursday, May 19 @ Albany)
Potosi/Cassville......100 250 6 — 14 13 0
Monticello/Albany..030 001 0 — 4 7 2
Leading hitters — P/C: Eli Adams 2x3 (4RBI), Logan Uppena 3x5 (2RBI), Nick Hampton 2x5 (RBI), Raz Okey 1x3 (2RBI); M/A: Henry Blowowiak 2x2, Nick Stokstad 2x3. 2B — P/C: Adams, Hampton, Levi Groom, Uppena 2; M/A: Blohowiak. HR — P/C: Adams, Okey, Kerkhoff.
W — Eli Adams (6–1, 4.1IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 7K, 2BB). L — Andy Gertsch (4IP, 5H, 5ER, 5K, 5BB). SV — Brayden Hutchcroft (1, 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0K, 0BB).
Potosi/Cassville 11, Black Hawk 1
(from Friday, May 20 @ South Wayne)
Potosi/Cassville..212 402 — 11 14 0
Black Hawk..........010 000 — 1 2 2
Leading hitters — P/C: Robby Roe 2x4, Preston Steiner 2x3 (RBI), Logan Kruser 3x4 (2RBI), Ethan Kerkhoff 1x2 (2RBI), Ashton Spitzack 3x3 (3RBI). 2B — P/C: Kruser, Spitzack. 3B — P/C: Roe, Udelhofen.
W — Robby Roe (7–1, 2H, 1ER, 9K, 0BB). L — Dempsey Schliem (4IP, 11H, 9R, 8ER, 2K, 3BB).
Potosi/Cassville 4, Seneca 2
(from Monday, May 23 @ Seneca)
Potosi/Cassville 002 100 1 — 4 10 0
Seneca 000 002 0 — 2 3 1
Leading hitters — P/C: Sam Udelhofen 2x4 (RBI), Robby Roe 2x4, Logan Kruser 2x4; S: Swanson 1x3 (2RBI). 2B — P/C: Udelhofen. HR — S: Swanson.
W — Eli Adams (7–1, 3H, 2ER, 8K, 0BB). L — Payne (4IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3K, 1BB).