Warriors sneak by Panthers

BANCROFT, Iowa – Some solid defense and six hits. That is all that the North Union Warriors baseball team needed to hold off the Central Springs Panthers 2-1 on Thursday in Bancroft.

“I thought that both pitchers did a real good job today,” said North Union head coach Chad Slagle. “Alex threw about 80 pitches in seven innings, so I thought that was good. And both teams had solid games behind their starters.”

Both pitchers were able to keep their opponents from getting on the board in the first two innings, but the Warriors finally broke it open in the third.

Cody Runksmeier drilled a Tennor Isaacson delivery at the Panther shortstop to start the third-inning rally.

With a bobble for an error, Cody Runksmeier reached first.

Colin Runksmeier then hit a grounder to third, taking the fielder’s choice out and moving Cody Runksmeier to second.

Spencer Ricke, who went 1-for-3 in the game, used his powerful swing to give the Warriors the lead.

Ricke blasted a hit to the base of the outfield fence, racing into second for an RBI double as Cody Runksmeier crossed the plate.

Corey Vaske, who went 3-for-3, smacked his second hit of the game to right, giving Ricke the chance to motor home to go ahead 2-0.

“Spencer Ricke has really been hitting the ball well for us lately, and we could really use him catching on fire like that,” said Slagle. “We got a couple hits, including Spencer’s when we needed it today, and that was all we needed to get the win.”

While the Warrior offense was getting going Alex Krantz, who pitched six innings, striking out two and walking three, was holding off the Panther bats.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that Central Springs was able to get out of the shut out.

Aaron Pestholt drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth, before Marcus McDonough sizzled a hit down the first baseline.

Prestholt raced to third, while McDonough tried to stretch his hit out to a double and was thrown out at second.

Isaacson then smacked a hit to the outfield, allowing Presholt to race home, but Isaacson was thrown out trying to take second base.

“Defensively I thought that we played just about as a good a game as we are capable of,” said Slagle. “We missed one double play opportunity, but otherwise fielded the ball clean and made plays, which was nice to see.”

Krantz ended up allowing just three hits in his winning pitching effort.

Isaacson allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits to absorb the loss.

The Panthers were threatening in the sixth inning, but a strike out and a fielder’s choice grounder to third base got the Warriors out of the jam with the lead.

Colton Hamand led off with a walk to start the inning, before J.D. Sliger hit a grounder to second.

An error, allowed both Hamand and Sliger to reach second and first safely.

Krantz then used what was left of his pitches to get Tommy Dalton to hit a fly ball to second, and striking out Nick Miller for two outs.

Levi Nettleton loaded the bases when he took a pitch into the elbow, but Krantz threw a pitch down in the zone forcing Prestholt to hit into a fielder’s choice grounder to end the inning.

Sliger, McDonough and Isaacson had the three Panther hits in the game.

Parker Oleson went 2-for-2 for the Warriors other hits in the win.

“This was a great ball game tonight by both teams. The pitchers did well, the defenses were clean and there were a few good hits,” said Slagle. It was a good game.”

North Union (9-10) travels to play Sioux Center at 3 p.m. today in Granville, Iowa.

CS 000 020 0 – 1 3 1

NU 002 000 x – 2 6 1

Tennor Isaacson (LP) and Marcus McDonough. Alex Krantz (WP) and Ryan Larson.

LOB-NU 4; CS 3. 2B-Spencer Ricke (NU).