Perfect week in baseball ups GMLOK’s record to 8-1

By: 
Chad Smith

The GMLOK baseball team went a perfect 4-0 last week, starting off with a 6-4 win at Southland on Monday, April 22.

Back in conference play the next day, GMLOK picked up a 14-2 road win at Mabel-Canton. The Bulldogs hit the road on Thursday, April 25, at Randolph, handing the unbeaten Rockets their first loss of the season 6-4. They finished the week Friday with a 10-9 nail biter over Lyle/Pacelli, drawing a bases-loaded walk to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Bulldogs are 8-1 overall (5-0 SEC).

Dreary day at Southland

Spring sports can be a battle, both with the weather and whatever team the Bulldogs happen to be facing. Monday’s game at Southland was no exception. The GMLOK Bulldogs battled back from a late-game deficit to knock off the Rebels in Adams last Monday by a 6-4 score in eight innings.

The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead by scoring a single run in each of the first three innings. The Rebels’ bats got going in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs in the frame to take a one-run lead, 4-3. However, GMLOK pushed the tying run across in the top of the sixth inning. After a scoreless seventh inning for both squads, the Bulldogs pushed two runs across in the top of the eighth inning. The Bulldogs closed it out in the bottom of the frame by holding Southland scoreless. GMLOK coach Dakotah Rostad said it wasn’t easy at all.

“As it seems to be a common theme, we had to battle the other team and Mother Nature,” he recalled. “It was a dreary day in Adams. Freshman Dustin Copley got the start for GMLOK and had a solid outing, giving up two hits, seven strikeouts, three walks, and just two earned runs. Christian Millette came in to relieve Copley and did another fantastic job on the mound. He had good command of the strike zone.”

Copley worked the first 4.1 innings, while Millette pitched the final 3.2 innings, not allowing a run while striking out four batters and issuing three walks.

On a cool and rainy day in Adams, Rostad said there was a bit of wind to contend with, so hits were hard to come by. Millette was a perfect two for two at the plate while scoring a run. Nolan Skifter was one for five, driving in a run while scoring once, and added a stolen base. Drew Copley was one for three with a run scored, drew three walks, had two stolen bases, and scored a run. Dylan Lunning was one for one, drawing three walks, stealing two bases, and scoring once.

Rostad said pitching and defense have been a strength so far, with both of those starting behind the plate. “Nolan Skifter had another solid defensive game behind the plate, calling great pitches, and keeping the ball in front of him,” he said. “Pitching and defense are solid up to this point. It is our hitting that we will continue to grind away on.”

Bulldogs click at M-C

All aspects of the game clicked for GMLOK in the Southeast Conference road win last Tuesday. Pitching, hitting, defense, and even baserunning were all strengths for the Bulldogs against the rebuilding Cougar baseball team. While the offensive production jumps out at most people, Rostad gave a lot of credit to pitching and defense.

“We pulled off another road win, thanks to yet another solid outing by our pitchers and our defense,” he said. “Senior pitcher Dylan Lunning worked five solid innings and Nolan Skifter finished the last two innings with solid efficiency.”

Lunning (1-1) worked the first five innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits. He struck out five Cougars and walked only three. Skifter came in and slammed the door shut with two perfect innings of relief. He didn’t give up any runs, any hits, struck out four batters, and didn’t issue a single walk.

Rostad said the Copley brothers drove the GMLOK offense against Mabel-Canton. “They were a combined eight for eight at the plate while driving in six of the team’s 14 runs,” he said. “Though we started the first three innings off slowly at the plate, our guys continued to battle with each at-bat. GMLOK finished with a total of 15 hits and nine stolen bases.”

Drew Copley was four for four at the plate, smacking two doubles and driving in a run. Dustin Copley had quite the day, going a perfect four of four, cracking a home run and driving in five runs. Rostad said the team just needs to stay aggressive, both at the plate and in the field.

“As long as we stay aggressive on the base paths, disciplined at the plate, and focused on defense, I feel we can compete with anyone,” he said.

Randolph suffers first loss

The Bulldogs hit the road on Thursday for a tough test at unbeaten Randolph, coming away with a 6-4 SEC win on the road. However, handing Randolph its first loss of the season wasn’t easy by any means. GMLOK had to hold off a great come-from-behind attempt by Randolph, which trailed 6-0 going into the bottom of the seventh. The Rockets scored four times in the home half of the final inning before the Bulldogs shut the door on the two-run victory.

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, GMLOK began to build its lead with a run in the second, third, and fifth innings. They appeared to break the game open with three more runs in the top of the sixth. However, the Bulldogs had to hold off the Rockets’ seventh-inning rally to get the win.

“The defense made plays behind another solid pitching performance from Drew Copley,” Rostad said. “He did a great job of controlling the flow of the game by pounding the strike zone. From there, our defense made some nice plays to keep Randolph in check.”

Copley pitched the first 6.1 innings, giving up seven hits and no runs. He struck out seven and walked two. Millette came in to work the final two-thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on three hits, all while striking out and walking two batters each.

“At the plate, we got the hits we needed at the right time,” Rostad said. “Drew Copley continued his tear at the plate, going two for three with two RBI. Lunning, Skifter, and Kruegel all had multiple-hit games as well. A big factor in the game was just putting the ball in play. We took advantage of some fielding mistakes and were able to hold off, in the end, to give them their first loss of the season.”

Lunning was officially two for four at the plate, Skifter two for four with a stolen base, and Kruegel was two for four with a double and two RBI. Copley’s two hits were doubles, plus he drew a walk.

GMLOK hangs on vs. L/P

The Bulldogs made it an unbeaten week after winning a home game against Lyle/Pacelli in Spring Valley on Friday afternoon. A four-run outburst in the first inning and a five-run explosion in the third gave the Bulldogs a big lead before they held off a comeback attempt by the A’s. Rostad said even though the final score was close, GMLOK really controlled the first half of the game.

GMLOK led 9-0 after three innings before the Athletics began their comeback. The A’s plated four runs in the top of the fourth inning, another three runs in the sixth,

“However, Lyle/Pacelli didn’t go away quietly,” he said. “Dustin Copley worked the first five innings on the mound and also produced at the plate. He tripled, drove in three runs, and drew the game-winning walk in the bottom of the seventh innings (the game was tied at 9-all). Lunning was also solid again, going two for three and driving in three runs.”

Copley gave up five runs over five innings (4 earned), allowed six hits and six walks while striking out eight batters. Millette pitched one inning, giving up three hits and two runs (1 earned) while striking out two batters. Skifter pitched the final inning and was the pitcher of record when the winning run crossed the plate. Skifter allowed two runs (1 earned), gave up one hit and three walks while getting two strikeouts.

Drew Copley was two for four with a double. Lunning had his two hits and a stolen base. Lucas Heusinkveld was two for four with a double, a stolen base, and a run scored.

“It was another complete team win,” said Rostad. “These last two games against Randolph and L-P have been good battles to learn from. Our guys have done a great job of not letting what they can’t control disrupt their rhythm on the field. It will not get any easier from here as we go into another heavily loaded week of games.”

Schedule

The Bulldogs were already scheduled to kick off their schedule on Monday, April 29, with a road game at Stewartville. They’re back home the next day for their second go-around with Houston after winning the first game 12-0. The Bulldogs have a return matchup with Lyle/Pacelli on Thursday, May 2, and then wrap up the week on Friday with their second game of the season against Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger, this time on the road. GMLOK beat G-E/A-C 10-5 earlier this season.