No. 1 & 3 hitters combine for six hits, five runs
by Keith Stewart
In just three at-bats, senior leadoff Colton Sroka and no. 3 Peyton Hagerman combined to produce half of Okaw Valley’s 12 hits on the day against Arcola.
“Colton Sroka set the stage by hitting the ball off the wall at his first at bat. Peyton and him then just hit line-drive after line-drive throughout the day,” said OV coach Andrew Hagerman. “Then there were some other guys in the order. Ian (Tiarks) had a nice hit. Taylor Coleman stepped up with a nice hit late in the game as a freshman. Devon (Still) had three hits himself. But Sroka and Hagerman really launched the baseball today.”
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Arcola would get out to an early 0-1 lead aided by two walks from Still, who had an uncharacteristic day at the mound, thanks in part to the windy conditions.
“Devon is normally a strike thrower–down around the knees, but I noticed today with a crosswind, myself pitching some before the game, it’s hard to get the ball down. It sailed,” explained Hagerman. “Devon never quite found it, but he battled and came up with big pitches at time, but he’ll tell you that isn’t even close to his best game.”
Nonetheless, even with Arcola’s one run in tow, OV responded with four runs in their half of the first frame.
But it wasn’t until the bottom of the second did OV bust open the game–nine runs in all.
After batting all nine in the first, OV’s lineup returned to the top with the senior Sroka. He provided a deep single to center and was followed by Drew Fruchtl’s shallow hit to right field that was aided by a missed catch by Arcola–one of several on the day. Hagerman then doubled to deep center field scoring both runners. After a walk, Hagerman stole home on a passed ball. Joe Jeffers would fly out to the pitcher, but then Tiarks’ line drive to right field scored T.J. Miller. Still got on with yet another Arcola fielding error, and following another walk, Dylan Park’s sacrifice bunt scored two. Sroka made yet another trip to the plate and lined to left field to score Connor Cloyd. Fruchtl then got on base with an error on the throw to first, while also scoring Sroka. The inning would eventually end but not before Arcola’s relief pitcher Devin Warren came in. He would walk the final run of the inning but got out of the bases loaded jam with a flyout to short. After just two innings, OV had dealt 13 runs worth of damage. They would add three more in the third while holding Arcola to two hits the rest of the game.
“They’re a great team,” said Arcola coach Jarod Kiger. “Coach Hagerman does an unbelievable job with this group. They’re very fundamentally sound. They play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. As coaches, we respect that. If you make mistakes against a team like that, it’ll get ya.”
“It’s nice especially with the dubious start falling behind,” said Hagerman. “Jumping all over them on offense set the tone. It always feels good to win a game by mercy rule, but the last two games before this we lost by mercy rule so we’ve been on both sides of that one. We know It lasts for about five minutes, and now we move on to the next opponent. We certainly don’t think we’re a team that makes a habit of 10-run ruling people. That’s not how we’re built.”
OV travelled to play Bunker Hill Saturday at minor league Gateway Grizzlies’ field in Sauget, Ill. and won 3-2 after 11 innings. With the win, OV improved to 7-4 on the year.