North Union splits pair with GTRA

BANCROFT, Iowa – The North Union Warriors and the Graettinger-Terril/ Ruthven-Ayrshire Titans split games during a Corn Belt Conference baseball doubleheader on Monday in Bancroft, Iowa.

Solid pitching from Colin Runksmeier helped the Warriors to take a 10-4 win the opener, before the Titans erupted for a 12-10 win in the nightcap.

“You have to play all 14 innings in a conference doubleheader like tonight,” said North Union head coach Chad Slagle. “We played well in the first game, but we weren’t able to come back and get the sweep and that’s a little frustrating.”

Colin Runksmeier allowed 11 hits in the first game, but only four runs – two earned – in his complete-game pitching performance.

“I really thought that Colin threw a good game for us in the first one, and we were able to work out of a few jams that could have cost us,” said Slagle.

Alex Krantz provided the offensive boost for the Warriors in the win, going 2-for-4 from the plate, including a pair of doubles, scoring three runs and driving in two RBIs.

Trailing 8-0, the Titans rallied for four runs in the sixth to cut the deficit in half, but a pair of doubles helped the Warriors respond in the bottom half of the inning to hold on for the win.

Cody Runksmeier smacked his lone hit of the opening game for a double deep to center, before Colin Runksmeier followed suit with an RBI double.

Colin Runksmeier raced to third on a wild delivery to the plate, before racing home on Spencer Ricke’s RBI grounder to the shortstop.

Titans’ hurler Andy Geelan allowed 10 runs – eight earned – on six hits, striking out two and walking two to absorb the opening game loss.

“I thought that we hit well in both games tonight, but we just weren’t able to get the hits when we needed them in the second one,” said Slagle. “We also allowed them to get too many baserunners on in the second game as well.”

After the Titans took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2, the Warriors responded to even the score in the second.

Logan Hellman hit a liner to left, before taking second and third base on balks.

Braden Ortman drove in the first run of the game, sizzling a single down the third-base line.

Ortman then swiped second before Cody Runksmeier, who went 3-for-4 from the plate, drove Ortman in to make it 3-2.

Cody Runksmeier then stole second and reached third on a passed ball, before Colin Runksmeier hit a grounder to second.

Colin Runksmeier proceeded to get into a rundown, allowing Cody Runksmeier to score from third to even the game.

The Warriors then took a 7-6 lead in the fifth, with the help of a pair of RBI singles.

Ortman led off the rally, reaching on a throwing error on his grounder to the pitcher’s mound.

Ortman swiped second and then Colin Runksmeier, who went 2-for-4, smacked a hit to move Ortman to third.

Ortman then scored on Ricke’s RBI single up the middle, putting runners on the corners.

Corey Vaske then hit a blooper to right, scoring Colin Runksmeier from third and sending pinch runner Riley Bauer to third, reducing the Titans’ lead to 6-5.

With Krantz at the plate with a 1-2 count, Titan catcher Michael Girres thought starting pitcher Taylor Enderson had struck out the Warrior junior.

Girres threw the ball toward the mound and the Titans headed toward the dugout, but the pitch was in fact called a ball, allowing both Bauer and Vaske to score on the play, making it 7-6.

After conferring, the play stood, with Krantz returning to the batter’s box.

The Titans tacked on two in the sixth to retake the lead 8-7, but again the Warriors responded.

Carter Engelby hit a double to left centerfield, before Cody Runksmeier delivered his second RBI of the game with a hit down the left-field line to score Engelby.

The Titans came back with a four-run seventh inning and then held the Warriors to just two runs to clinch the win.

“They had big sixth and seventh innings. They were a good hitting team both games, but in the first one we were able to get out of it,” said Slagle. “In those two innings though, we couldn’t catch a break and they ended up being the difference for us.”

Ricke led off with a single in the bottom of the seventh, before wheeling his way around the base paths on Vaske’s RBI triple to right.

A passed ball during Krantz’s at-bat allowed Vaske to run home, making it 12-10, but North Union would not score any more runs.

Vaske stepped in during the first inning in relief, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing five earned runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking two to absorb the loss.

Enderson pitched all seven innings, allowing 10 runs – seven earned – on 12 hits, striking out eight and walking two to earn the win.

North Union (5-6) plays host to Newman Catholic at 7 p.m. tonight in Bancroft.

Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (2-2) travels to play Manson-Northwest Webster on Thursday in Manson, Iowa.

(Game 1)

GTRA 000 004 0 – 4 11 6

NU 023 032 x – 10 6 4

Andy Geelan (LP) and Michael Girres. Colin Runksmeier (WP) and Ryan Larson.

LOB-GTRA 7; NU 4. 2B-Michael Girres (GTRA); Cody Runksmeier (NU); Colin Runksmeier (NU); Alex Krantz (NU) 2. 3B-Parker Oleson (NU).

(Game 2)

GTRA 300 212 4 – 12 11 1

NU 030 041 2 – 10 12 2

Taylor Enderson (WP) and Michael Girres. Parker Oleson, Corey Vaske (1, LP); Cody Runksmeier (6) and Ryan Larson.

LOB-GTRA 9; NU 3. 2B-Alex Hoffman (GTRA); Carter Engelby (NU). 3B-Corey Vaske (NU); Cody Runksmeier (NU). SAC-Marcus Girres (GTRA).