2012 Iowa Conference champions
INDIANOLA — Twice Monday, the Central College baseball team found a way.
Completing a demanding six-game, three-day road trip, the Dutch trailed Simpson College 5-2 with one out in the seventh inning, but scratched out four big runs on just two hits to pull out a 6-5 victory. Then they battled back from a 5-0 deficit in the nightcap to to secure an Iowa Conference road sweep with a 9-5 win.
“Today was a big day for this team,” coach Adam Stevens said. “We’ve been playing three straight days and things were just not going our way. But I give the guys so much credit. They competed so hard and they never gave up. I was really impressed with how they battled. It was good to see.”
Central (15-8 overall, 7-5 conference) was limited to just two hits through the first six innings. But a one-out pinch-hit single by Zach Zylstra (sophomore, Pella, Pella Christian HS) got things started. A walk, hit batsman and a force play brought in a run, then after another walk, the Dutch combined clutch two-run single by third baseman Adam Ariola (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) with some aggressive baserunning to get the winning margin, as Ariola tried to draw a throw while attempting to steal second and Rushing scampered home.
Ariola had two of Central’s four hits in the game and had three RBIs. He singled home a run in the first inning and the Dutch added a tally in the second on a double by second baseman Spencer Gritsch (freshman, Brooklyn, BGM HS).
Pitcher Judson McKown (junior, Independences, Minn., Orono HS) with his fifth save in the opener and a win in the nightcap to improve to 4-2. He closed out the opener with a perfect seventh inning. In the nightcap, he allowed four earned runs on nine hits with no walks and one strikeout. Mark Schroeder (freshman, Chariton) got the win in the opener. Schroeder (4-0) threw three innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit with two walks and no strikeouts.
Simpson (8-15 overall, 4-10 conference) took the early lead in the second game with a run in the first inning and stretched its advantage to 5-0 after five innings.
But the Dutch erupted for six runs on six hits in the sixth inning. Left fielder Robbie Rushing (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS), Zylstra and first baseman Seth Carson (senior, Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove HS) each had run-scoring hits in the frame.
Central added three runs in the eighth, getting an RBI double from Gritsch and a two-run hit from center fielder Sam Stetzel (senior, Perry). Stetzel, shortstop Jordan Judkins (junior, Marshalltown), Rushing and Ariola each had two hits in the game. Ariola had four hits on the day, upping his season average to .317. Rushing is the team leader with a .365 mark.
Andy Carr (sophomore, Rockford, Ill., Rockford Lutheran HS) and Rushing each threw two innings of one-hit relief.
Central travels to Waverly for an important four-game series with league co-leader Wartburg College Friday and Saturday. Friday’s action starts at 3:30 p.m. Wartburg is 21-5 overall and 10-2 in the league, sharing the top spot with Coe College.