After getting no-hit in its last doubleheader, Grand Island looked to get its bats going Tuesday.
That didn’t turn out to be a problem.
The Islanders opened up with an 11-run first inning and cruised from there in a 17-0 and 9-1 sweep of Norfolk at Ryder Park.
That pushed Grand Island (4-3) back over .500 after being swept last week at Lincoln East.
“We had a tough Thursday night against East, so it was good to get back onto the field finally,” G.I. coach Rick Kissack said. “Getting 11 (runs) in that first inning kind of set the tone.
“We had good at-bats, played solid defense and the pitchers threw strikes, so it was a good night.”
Eleven of the first 12 Islander batters scored in the big opening inning. The only one who didn’t was Brendon Wentling, who contributed a sacrifice fly.
Grand Island led 16-0 after two innings, and the game ended after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Steven Zigler went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs. Alex Allen was 2-for-2 with three runs, and Logan Greenwalt went 2-for-3 with three runs.
“We had some guys have really good offensive nights,” Kissack said. “It got away from them early, and they had some control issues. You could start sitting on some pitches.
“We needed a good offensive game after last week, so it was good to get it.”
Calvin Hehnke threw four innings of no-hit ball. He faced the minimum number of batters as the one Panther who walked was erased by a double play.
Derek Ward completed the shutout while pitching the fifth.
Norfolk (0-6) kept the second game more competitive for a little while.
Grady Gardner’s RBI single gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Panthers tied it on Blake Bauer’s RBI double in the third.
Hehnke’s two-run single up the middle put Grand Island back up for good in the bottom of the third, and the Islanders scored two runs in each of the final four innings to pull away.
Phoenix Stevenson and Hehnke each finished with two hits in the nightcap.
Trey Sokolik gave up one unearned run on three hits over five innings to pick up the win. Alex Allen only allowed one hit in two innings of relief.
Kissack said the pitchers were effective throughout the doubleheader.
“They threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and allowed the defense to make plays,” he said. “We didn’t really go and try to strike guys out. When you get ahead, you just throw strikes and let them put the ball into play.”
Grand Island 17, Norfolk 0
Norfolk ............... 000 00—0 1 2
Grand Island (11)51 0x—17 10 0
WP—Hehnke. LP—Deichmann. 2B—GI, Stevenson, Zigler.
Grand Island 9, Norfolk 1
Norfolk (0-6) ................. 001 000 0—1 4 4
Grand Island (4-3) ........ 102 222 x—9 8 2
WP—Sokolik. LP—Dowson. 2B—N, Bauer. GI, Hehnke, Wentling.