By Brent Huelsmann
After a slow offensive start to the season, the Nashville Hornets boys baseball team, exploded for double digit runs in two out of their four games this week as they defeated Greenville, Freeburg, and New Athens. The Hornets lone loss this week came in the first game of a doubleheader against Freeburg. The Hornets record is 5-2 on the season.
The Hornets got the week underway with a 11-1 win over Greenville in just five innings on Friday March 24. Ryan Brink got the win on the mound, as he went all five innings for the Hornets.
The Hornets got off to a quick start in the first, as they pushed across four runs in the bottom of the first. The big blast came off the bat of Jake Heck, as he crushed a three run home run in the inning. The Hornets would score two more in the second and held a commanding 6-0 lead going into the third.
The score would hold steady until the fourth, when Nashville scored another two to take a commanding 8-0 lead. After Greenville scored in the top of the sixth, the Hornets scored three in the bottom half to end the game 11-1.
On the mound Brink didn’t need much help as he gave up just one unearned run in five innings of work. Brink allowed just two hits while he struck out five and walked one.
After the game, Coach Chad Malawy talked about the offense. “We swung the bats better than we had all year. I thought we did a heck of a job hitting the breaking ball today. That was the difference. We banged some curveballs into the gap and got some runs. Got up early. Teams usually play better with the lead and we did.”
At the plate, both Cody Bauza and Heck knocked in three runs apiece. Bauza finished 2-3 in the game, while Heck finished the game 2-2. Brink finished 2-4 in the win with two RBIs, including the game-ending RBI. Heggemeier was a catalyst at the top of the lineup, as he finished 4-4 with four runs scored and a RBI. Overall the Hornets busted out 13 hits, with Trevor Meier finishing with two hits and Andrew Kash having a double in the win.
The Hornets were back in action in a doubleheader against the Freeburg Midgets on Saturday March 25. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Hornets were not able to get into a rhythm offensively, as Freeburg took the game 5-2.
A scoreless game after three innings, the Hornets were the first to score in the top of the fourth, as they pushed across one run. The Hornets would hold the lead long as the Midgets immediately tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.
The Hornets quickly took the lead back in the top of the fifth, but the Midgets took the lead for good in the bottom half. Freeburg scored three in the fifth, and added one in the sixth to get the 5-2 victory.
Kemp started the game for the Hornets as he went five innings, giving up four runs, just two of which were earned. Kemp walked four batters and struck out three. Heggemeier finished the game on the mound, as he pitched the final inning, and gave up just one hit, and one unearned run.
At the plate, Bauza was the only player for the Hornets with more than one hit. Bauza finished 2-4 in the game. Heggemeier and Cameron Parker each had one hit and a RBI in the loss. Brink was on base three times, as he finished with a hit, three walks and a run scored. Meier, Austin Anderson, and Kash had the lone other hits for the Hornets.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Hornets offense exploded for 15 hits and 17 runs in a 17-9 win over Freeburg. The Hornets started the scoring with three runs in the top of the first, but found themselves down 6-3 after two innings of play.
The Hornets scored seven runs in the third to take control of the game, and added another in the fourth to take an 11-6 lead. The Hornets would again add to their lead in the sixth with three more runs, bu Freeburg got two of them back in the bottom half of the frame. Nashville would score three in the seventh to put the game away for good and went on to win 17-9.
Brink was a force at the plate, as he finished 2-3 with two runs scored two walks, and five RBIS. Four of the RBIs came on one swing, as Brink cleared the bases with a grand slam in the third inning. Heggemeier finished with another four hits, as he went 4-6 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Cameron Parker added another three RBIs on one hit. Kash had a nice day at the plate as he finished 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Jacob Woodrome, Heck, and meier also each got in the RBI column with one RBI apiece. Eight Hornets finished with at least two runs scored as Heggemeier, Brink, Anderson, Heck, Cameron Parker, Meier, Kash, and Kemp crossed the plate at least twice.
Woodrome started the game on the mound, as he went four innings and gave up six runs, zero of which were earned. Woodrome walked four and had four strikeouts in the win. Heggemeier came in for the final three innings for the game, as he spread five hits, across the final three frames. Heggemeier gave up three earned runs, and struck out five.
In their final game of the week, the Hornets scored late to grab a 7-3 victory over New Athens. The Hornets were able to take a 3-0 lead early, but New Athens was able to get back in the game with a run in the third and two in the fourth. The score would stay tied until the bottom of the sixth when the Hornets broke through with four runs to take the lead. Cameron Parker executed a perfect squeeze bunt that New Athens could not make the play on. The Hornets would add three more in the frame and take a 7-3 victory.
After the game, Coach Malawy talked about the win. “It all starts on the mound. Andrew (Kash) had a hard time getting a feel for it today out there on the mound, and I think we gave away seven or eight free bases in the first three or four innings that put us behind the eight ball a little bit. We got lucky to escape some jams, and we didn’t necessarily make a lot of plays in the field either so it wasn’t a good day for the pitching and defense. Freshmen Terry Pelczynski got his first taste of varsity baseball, and was awesome on the mound. He was pounding the zone. I don’t know if he was behind any batter. He was ahead in the count all day long, and what a difference it makes. Awfully proud of Terry Pelczynski’s effort on the mound today.”
The Hornets finished with seven hits as a team, with Trevor Meier being the only Nashville player to notch more than one hit. Meier finished 2-3 with two runs scored. Kash finished 1-3 in the game, but had two RBIs on the day. Cameron Parker, Heggemeier, and Bauza all added one hit and a RBI. Austin Anderson had two runs scored in the win. Bryce Bultman also scored a run.
On the mound, the game was started by Kash. Kash struggled through four innings on the mound, as he gave up three earned runs, and walked five batters. Kash struck out three. Freshmen Terry Pelczynski got his first varsity action of his career and came away with the win. Pelczynski went three shutout innings, and gave up just two hits.