SOUTH WAYNE – The strong winds blowing in from the outfield did little to cool off the Black Hawk offense in Monday night’s Six Rivers East opener on the baseball diamond.
The Warriors (1-1 overall, 1-0 in SRE) banged 14 hits into the breeze and plated 12 runs to blow away the visiting Monticello Ponies, 12-7, at BHHS on April 9.
Black Hawk had lost seven straight games to Monticello since their last win in 2008, including three 10-run losses to the Ponies a year ago; but the Warriors turned the page in their conference opener thanks to a total team effort.
“We won the game by making plays when we had to,” said Black Hawk head coach Justin Doyle. “We hit the ball and made (Monticello) move around a little on defense.”
Eight of the team’s nine starters had at least one hit in the game and six had multiple-hit games, while seven different players drove in a run and seven players scored for the Warriors in the game.
The lead switched hands four times over the first three innings with the Warriors twice rallying from behind to jump ahead of the Ponies (0-4, 0-1).
Trailing 2-0 before they even stepped to the plate, Black Hawk fought their way into the lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Shortstop Mike Walker doubled in two runs and later scored on an errant pick-off attempt to give the hosts a 3-2 lead.
Monticello regained the lead with three runs in the top of the third, but the Warriors came right back with four runs in the home half of the inning to go back on top 7-5. Patrick Mahoney plated a run with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt, and Aaron Monson followed with a two-run single to put Black Hawk into the lead to stay.
The Warriors added three runs off three Monticello errors in the fourth inning to grab a 10-6 advantage, and they tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings on two-out RBI-singles by third baseman Mike Powers and pitcher Cory Rupnow.
The Ponies shaved a run off the deficit in the top of the seventh inning, and they had two runners on base with two down when Rupnow coax the final out on a runner interference call to secure the complete-game victory.
Rupnow surrendered seven runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts over seven solid innings of work.
“He threw strikes all day. He’s not fast, but he can throw strikes. That’s all we ask of him,” Doyle added about his junior pitcher who moved to 1-1 on the season.
Walker was 2-for-3 with a double, four runs scored and two RBI to lead the hit barrage. Monson was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Logan Stietz was 2-for-5 with two runs scores, while Rupnow, Patrick Mahoney and Connor Moore each had two hits with a run and a RBI.
At Cuba City, on Tuesday, April 3, the host Cubans used a 13-run third inning outburst to roll over the Warriors, 18-3, in their season opener.
The Cubans (3-1) snapped a 1-1 tie with four runs in the second inning, then pulled away with their 13-run rally.
Nathan Wallenhorst went 3-for-3 with a triple for the Cubans, while Trent Denlinger went 2-for-3 with a home run for the hosts.
Connor Moore was 2-for-3 with a double, and Cory Ruopnow added a double for the Warriors.
Black Hawk heads to Cassville for their first Six Rivers crossover doubleheader on Friday, April 13, starting at 4:30 p.m. The Warriors host Barneveld in a Six Rivers East game on Tuesday, April 17, starting at 5 p.m.
Monticello….. 203 100 1 - 7 9 6
Black Hawk… 304 311 x - 12 14 6
Leading Hitters: Connor Moore 2x2, Mike Walker 2x3, Aaron Monson 2x3, Patrick Mahoney 2x4, Cory Rupnow 2x5, Logan Stietz 2x5. 2B- Walker.
WP- Cory Rupnow. LP- Steffen.
Black Hawk……. 100 02 - 3 7 5
Cuba City…… 14(13) 0x - 18 11 1
Leading Hitters: Connor Moore 2x3. 2B- Cory Rupnow, Moore.
WP- Reese. LP- Cory Rupnow.