DARLINGTON – Fennimore spotted starting pitcher Kane Klais a five-run lead before he even took the hill, and Klais took over from there tossing four scoreless innings to lead the visiting Golden Eagles over Darlington, 12-1, in a prep baseball game at Otto Ruf Field on Thursday, April 5.
The Eagles (3-0 overall, 1-0 in SWAL) had two games under their belt prior to Thursday’s SWAL opener, while the Redbirds (0-1, 0-1) had the unenviable task of opening their season again the defending league champs in new head coach Matt Austin’s debut.
Fennimore wasted no time putting the ‘Birds in an early hole as they turned two hits, two walks, a hit by pitch and three errors into five runs in the top of the first inning.
The Eagles tacked on three more insurance runs in the second frame to up their lead to 8-0.
Darlington starter Tyler Black settled down after a tough start by holding the Eagles scoreless over the next two frames and reliever Aric Geissbuhler tossed a scoreless fifth while striking out the side, but the ‘Birds could generate nothing on offense against Klais.
The Golden Eagle junior struck out seven batters, walked two and allowed just one hit over four innings of work to pick up the win.
Fennimore plated four runs in the sixth to build up a 12-0 advantage.
The Redbirds avoided a shutout with a run of their own in the home half of the sixth when senior outfielder Brandon Hardyman singled and came around to score on a wild pitch and an error, but that was all the hosts could manage as the Eagles held on for the 10-run rule decision.
Hardyman reached base safely in all three at bats with a base hit and two walks. Geissbuhler, Jason Singer and Andrew Kelly all singled for the ‘Birds.
Black surrendered eight runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts, while Geissbuhler allowed four runs on two hits and four walks with five Ks.
First baseman Evan Friesen was 2-for-2 with a RBI and three runs scored for the Eagles. Ian Streeter drove in two runs for the guests.
Darlington has a SWAL game at Iowa-Grant on Friday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m. The Redbirds return home to host River Valley in a non-conference game on Monday, April 16, and Boscobel in a SWAL contest on Tuesday, April 17, both at 4:30 p.m.
Fennimore… 530 004 - 12 8 5
Darlington… 000 001 - 1 3 6
Leading Hitters: Brandon Hardyman 1x1.
WP- Klais. LP- Tyler Black.