MUSCODA - The varsity baseball team continued to play well as the Chieftains picked up a pair of wins on Saturday against two very good teams. The Chieftains have now won seven straight games and 13 of their last 15 games.
The Chieftains opened the day with a solid 5-0 win over Lancaster. Once again Elijah Cannon turned in a stellar performance as he went the distance, giving up just two hits while striking out eight.
“Elijah is having a fantastic year and has spoiled a lot of us with how easy he has made it look out there,” said Coach Curt Thompson.
The Chieftains broke up a scoreless ball game with two in the top of the fourth.
Caleb Johnson got them us started with a walk and steal to second. One out later, Michael Schaefer coaxed a walk, with Caleb racing to third. When the catcher fired the ball by the third baseman, Riverdale had a run and a runner on second.
With two outs, Dalton Haile smashed an RBI single to left to bring in Schaefer.
“Excellent base running earned us two runs there,” said the coach. “Plus, Dalton continues to tattoo the baseball.”
The Chieftains added a run in the fifth. With one out, Trevor Troxel walked. Trevor Johnson blasted a double to deep left center to give Riverdale runners on second and third. With two outs, Cannon walked to load the bases. Schaefer grounded a ball the pitcher could not handle, and it was 3-0.
Meanwhile Cannon, backed by a strong defensive effort by many Chieftains, kept the Flying Arrows off of the scoreboard.
The Chieftains tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh. Troxel led things off with a screaming double down the left field line. T. Johnson was hit by a pitch and C. Johnson walked to load the bases. Two outs later, Riverdale had walks by Cody Sperry and Haile force in runs.
Riverdale would retire the Flying Arrows without too much drama in the bottom of the seventh for a nice 5-0 win.
“It was a very solid game against a really good opponent,” said Coach Thompson.
Box Score: AB-R-Hits-RBI: Roen 4-0-0-0; Troxel 3-2-1-0; T. Johnson 3-1-2-0; C. Johnson 2-1-0-0; Cannon 2-0-0-0; Ekleberry 1-0-0-0; Schaefer 3-1-1-1; Sperry 3-0-0-1; Haile 3-0-2-2; Harris 0-0-0-0; Fox 0-0-0-0; Hougan 2-0-0-0; Luck 1-0-0-0; and Haffner 0-0-0-0
Pitching Stats: IP-Hits-R-ER-BB-K: Cannon 7-2-0-0-3-8
In the championship game, the Chieftains took on the hard-hitting Brookwood Falcon team that had defeated Wauzeka 17-4 earlier in the day. Brookwood, who had most of their team back from last year's sectional final team, was a great test for the Chieftains.
Riverdale got off to a great start as Troxel baffled the Falcons in the first, striking out the side. The Chieftains struck for two runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Troxel ripped a single to left. Brady Fox came on to run for Troxel and promptly stole second. T. Johnson lofted a single to right putting runners on the corners. C. Johnson followed with a sac fly to bring in Fox. After Cannon reached on an error, Schaefer lifted a single to left, scoring a hustling T. Johnson for 2-0.
After Troxel struck out the Falcons in the third, Riverdale scratched home a run in the bottom of the inning. C. Johnson led off with a single and stole second. Cannon scorched a single to right center to knock in a run.
The Chieftains continued to expand the lead with two more in the fourth.
A walk to Roen and a single by Troxel put two aboard. T. Johnson stayed hot with an RBI single to bring in Roen. Fox ran for Troxel again, alertly going to third on the throw in. That was big when Caleb lifted a sac fly to short right, and it was 5-0.
“We are doing a lot of little things correctly and that is making a big difference in games,” said Coach Thompson.
Meanwhile, Troxel had a fantastic game, as his mixing of speeds, arm angles, and location had a very good hitting Falcon team completely confused.
“Trevor had great stuff and was in complete command out there today,” said the coach.
The Chieftains tacked on one more in the fifth. With one out, consecutive singles by Sperry, Haile, and Ty Hougan plated a run.
In the top of the sixth, what seemed to be a comfortable lead turned into a tight contest, as Brookwood took advantage of a couple of misplays, and well placed short singles to score four runs. However, a big throw from center fielder Schaefer to cut down a runner at the plate and a big, two out, bases loaded strikeout by Troxel got the Chieftains out of the inning with a now slim 6-4 lead.
“A good lesson was learned there,” Coach Thompson said. “We had some mistakes made in that inning because I think we let our focus wane for a minute. Hopefully, we learned to keep our intensity and determination until the final out of the game is recorded.”
Now holding a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh. Riverdale faced the middle of the Falcon order. With one out, a walk and single put two on. However, Troxel shut the door with his 16th and 17th strikeouts of the game for a tough 6-4 win.
“Another strong game by our guys and another great pitching performance by Trevor Troxel,” the coach said. “We are playing very good baseball and it has been fun to watch. I would expect us to continue to play very well the rest of the way.”
The Chieftains are now 14-5 on the season and ranked fifth in the State in Division IV.
Box Score: AB-Runs-Hits-RBI: Roen 3-1-0-0; Troxel 4-0-2-0; Fox 0-2-0-0; T. Johnson 4-0-2-1; C. Johnson 2-1-1-2; Cannon 3-0-1-1; Haffner 0-0-0-0; Schaefer 3-0-1-1; Sperry 2-0-1-0; Ekleberry 0-0-0-0; Luck 0-0-0-0; Haile 2-0-1-0; Harris 0-0-0-0; and Hougan 3-0-1-1
Pitching Stats: IP-Hits-R-ER-BB-K: Troxel 7-7-4-3-4-17