Bulldogs stay perfect in SEC baseball


CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Nick Ramaker covers first base on a bunt by Stewartville when GMLOK teammate Jacob Welch ran in to field the ball and make the out.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Kyle Kassel kicks up some dirt on a head-first slide to score a run for GMLOK in a game against Stewartville.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE GMLOS’s Devin Carr takes a cut at a Stewartville pitch.
By: 
Chad Smith

The GMLOK baseball team won three of its four games last week but went a perfect 3-0 in Southeast Conference play.

The Bulldogs started the week with a 1-0 non-conference loss to Stewartville, which ended a six-game winning streak. They played a rare Wednesday game on May 1, after a home game against Houston was rained out Tuesday. The Bulldogs won a slugfest by a score of 10-9. A three-run rally in the seventh inning led to a 5-3 win over Lyle/Pacelli, as well as a sweep of the season series, on Thursday. Friday wrapped up the week with a 17-1 win at Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger, sweeping the season series with the Wolverines. GMLOK is now 11-2 overall (7-0 SEC).

Pitching duel vs. Stewartville

There’s an old baseball saying that goes like this: “Good pitching beats good hitting.” That was the perfect description of the Bulldogs’ non-conference game at Stewartville on Monday. Neither team scored a single run in the seven-regulation innings. The Tigers pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win a nail biter by a 1-0 score and break a GMLOK six-game winning streak.

 “This was a great pitching duel,” said GMLOK head coach Dakotah Rostad. “Drew Copley took the mound to face the Stewartville Tigers. While Copley was on a pitch count, he didn’t waste any of the pitches he had. He struck out nine Tigers and gave up only one hit through five innings pitched.”

Copley kept the ball in the strike zone, not allowing a single walk to Stewartville. Christian Millette pitched the final three innings, giving up just the one earned run and three hits. He issued four walks and struck out two batters.

 “We were hoping the bats would follow the same groove we had on the mound,” Rostad said. “However, we only managed three hits as a team.”

Nolan Skifter went one for three with a stolen base. Drew Copley was one for three with a double and Dustin Copley also had a hit in three at-bats.

 “In the end, we lost the momentum in the eighth inning when we walked a few batters,” he said. “Stewartville eventually brought in the winning run on a walk-off hit in the bottom of that same inning. It was fun to see our guys compete with a tougher level of competition and go punch for punch until the end.”

Offense rules vs. Houston

This one was the complete opposite of the Monday game against Stewartville. Both teams came out swinging after having to wait an extra day to play each other. Tuesday rainfall pushed the game to Wednesday, May 1. Both teams put runs up right away in the first inning and didn’t look back. In fact, Houston took a four-run lead late in the game and GMLOK had to mount a significant comeback in the final inning to win the game 10-9.

Houston scored the first run of the game on a two-out, RBI single in the top of the first inning. The Bulldogs answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Nick Ramaker, who went three for four with two RBI, slapped a two-out RBI single to tie the game. GMLOK added two more runs in the second and third innings to jump out to a 5-2 lead after four innings, helped out by aggressive baserunning. The team would finish the game with seven steals.

 “The Houston bats got going in the fifth,” Rostad said, “when they scored six runs on six hits. Momentum seemed to be swinging toward Houston as GMLOK went 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth innings. We gave up an unearned run in the top of the seventh to widen the Hurricane lead to four runs (9-5) in the top of the seventh.”

That’s when the comeback began. Houston errors led to some free baserunners for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Those errors were followed by three hits, each coming from Millette, Dylan Lunning and a game-winning walk-off two-RBI double from Dustin Copley.

Nick Ramaker went three for four at the plate with two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Lunning was two for four with a double, an RBI and scored once. Dustin Copley was one for four, but that one hit was the walk-off double that won the game.

 “Dylan Lunning had a solid day at the plate and on the mound,” Rostad said. “He worked the first 4.1 innings, striking out eight batters. He pitched a very good game. However, Houston hitters seemed to hit every gap in the GMLOK defense as they wound up with 10 hits in the game.”

Wild one at L/P

The Thursday night game was a “wild one” according to Rostad. For the second game in a row, the Bulldogs had to mount a comeback late in the game to pull out an SEC win. GMLOK trailed by a run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. That’s when the comeback began.

 “Senior Reid Kruegel came up with a huge two-out single to keep hope alive,” Rostad recalled. “Next up was Nolan Skifter. His bat has woken up as of late and he delivered a two-out base knock to right field. With runners on first and third, up stepped Drew Copley, who’d already crushed a solo home run to left field back in the first inning.

 “With the count at a ball and a strike, Copley got a fastball and delivered a big blow by blasting a go-ahead, three-run home run off the scoreboard at Marcusen Park to give us a two-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh.”

Millette came on in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game. He had to face the top three hitters in the A’s lineup. The incredible night ended with Millette needing only four pitches to retire the hitters and close out the game with a 5-3 win.

Millette faced three batters in the final inning. Drew Copley got the start and pitched well. He gave up three runs but only one was earned. He allowed only four hits, struck out eight batters and walked three.

Drew Copley had himself a day at the plate, going two for four with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored. Kruegel was two for four with a stolen base and scored twice. Skifter was one for three with a run scored and a sacrifice fly that drove in a run. Jacob Welch also contributed two hits in three at-bats.

Big win over G-E/A-C

The Bulldogs broke open a close game on the road Friday and ran away with an SEC win over Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger by a score of 17-1. GMLOK scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the second inning and led 2-0 after the first three frames. The Bulldogs exploded for nine runs in the top of the fourth innings and then another six runs in the top of the fifth. The Wolverines did score their only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh before the game ended.

The Bulldogs scored 17 runs on 14 hits with two errors. G-E/A-C scored one run on three hits and committed nine errors. The Bulldogs swept the two-game, regular-season series with the Wolverines, winning the first game 10-5.

Kruegel led the Bulldogs at the plate, going four of five with a home run, three RBI, scored twice and stole a base. Drew Copley went two for four with a double, scored twice and stole a base. Dustin Copley was three for four with a double, three RBI, three runs scored and added a stolen base. Ramaker was two for three with an RBI and three runs scored.

Dustin Copley got the complete game win on the mound for GMLOK, working all five innings and giving up three hits and one earned run. He struck out eight batters and walked only two.

Reece Nelson was two for two at the plate and scored the only run for Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger. Derek Miller had the lone RBI. Tyler Lair took the loss on the mound, pitching 3.2 innings and giving up eight hits and 11 runs, five of which were earned.

Schedule

Heading into the regular season’s stretch run, this week was scheduled to start on Tuesday, May 7, with a home doubleheader against Schaeffer Academy. The Bulldogs end the week with a big Southeast Conference doubleheader on Friday, May 10, against Spring Grove. The games are scheduled for Luther College in Decorah.