By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Charlie Stumpff’s West High Trojans opened the 2013 varsity baseball season Monday, May 20, with an 11-1 road win over Benton Community. On Wednesday, May 22, West hosted the Falcons of Davenport West for a varsity double-header on a cool and wet evening.
The Falcons took the marathon opener 10-2 in ten innings. Davenport struck first in the top of the fourth and scored again in the fifth before Devin Raffensperger blasted a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth. Tanner Hakert walked and moved to third on a Josh Verry double. Brock Hatzky knocked-out an RBI single to score Hakert and tie the game 2-2. The Falcons broke a three-inning stalemate with an eight-run effort in the top of the tenth. The Falcons finished the game with ten runs, ten hits, one error and ten men left on base. The Trojans had two runs, four hits, one error and left an unlucky 13 out in the rain…literally. Between halves of the first inning, Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” blasted out across the diamond as a steady but light rain fell.
The Trojans reloaded and made a statement early in the nightcap with a seven-run first inning after holding the Falcons to one hit, no runs and one man stranded to open the inning. Reid Bonner belted out an RBI triple to score Ezra Reiners, and came home on a loose ball. An RBI homer by Raffensperger brought in Declan Doyle and it was 4-0 for the Trojans. Brock Hatzky, working as a courtesy runner, came home on an RBI single from Greg Ludwig just before the Falcons changed pitchers. Despite facing a new man on the mound, the Trojans kept on scoring. Sam Scott came in on an RBI triple from Tanner Wilson while Reiners RBI’d Wilson home for the 7-0 lead.
The Falcons nearly scored in the top of the second on an overthrown ball to home plate that got past catcher Raffensperger. But, Tyus Adkins came off the mound and salvaged the play with a neat catch and held the Falcons’ runner at third. Adkins got a strikeout once he was back on the mound, ending the inning for Davenport.
An RBI double by Ludwig in the bottom of the second scored Hakert to make it 8-0. Reiners showcased Trojan defense in the top of the third in a pair of back-to-back plays. First, the senior outfielder took a roll in the wet grass but came up with a Falcon’s hit for the out. Then, a long ball sent Reiners to the wall, but again he had the ball in his glove and another Falcon headed back to the bench. Reiners also annoyed pitchers with his penchant for stealing bases, leading to some press box speculation that when a pitch hit him in the bottom of the third, it may have been more than a little bit coincidental. Raffensperger picked up an RBI double to bring him home while an Adkus RBI single scored Hakert who was kindly performing courtesy runner duties for the catcher.
With the score at 10-0, it was only a matter of holding the Falcons and wrapping the game up early. Davenport went three-up, three-out in their half of the fourth while Ludwig sent the ball out for a double, but was left stranded. In the top of the fifth, it was two batters shot down before reaching first base and a strike-out for Hakert as he worked the mound to put the game away early.