CARROLL, Iowa — Carroll Kuemper and Glenwood entered Saturday’s doubleheader at Carroll Stadium tied for the Hawkeye-10 Conference lead with one loss each.
The teams are still deadlocked with two losses apiece after splitting the twin bill.
The Class 2-A eighth-ranked Knights did clinch a share of the title when they took the first game 5-1 on a two-hitter from ace Chris Halbur. The Rams responded in a big way in the second game, pounding out 14 hits and scoring 15 runs in a 15-4 win.
Class 3-A No. 4 Glenwood has one game remaining Monday at Lewis Central.
“They are No. 4 in 3-A for a reason, and they are a good hitting ball club,” Carroll Kuemper coach Randy Snyder said. “We take that as a compliment because each team played well and won one today. Maybe L.C. will do us a favor Monday.”
Halbur, who is 5-0 with an ERA under one, struck out 12 and did not issue a free pass in his masterpiece in the opener. He even struck out the Ram hitter who helped produce their only run, pitching counterpart Tyler Jensen. Jensen reached on a wild pitch and courtesy runner Nolan Robinson scored in the top of the fourth on Glenwood’s first hit, a single from Brady Douma.
That lead was short-lived as the Knights posted three in the bottom of the inning to give Halbur all of the support he would need. Ben Hicks and Bryce Wessels had run-scoring singles in that frame, and Nick Greteman added a triple to center that snuck in between the center and right fielders.
“I was spotting my fastball really well and had great command of that,” Halbur said. “I was able to keep them off balance a little bit as well by mixing in some off-speed pitches and it helped to keep them guessing out there.”
Glenwood coach Brett Elam said it was a good thing to face Halbur with the district tournament just two weeks away.
“He is obviously one of the best pitchers in our league and it was a good test against a power pitcher with a good fastball,” Elam said. “He has had some big strikeout games but we put the ball in play and hit some balls hard off him.”
In the nightcap, it seemed like everything the Rams hit was hit hard. Of the 14 Glenwood hits, eight were for extra bases with six doubles and two home runs. That was plenty of support for Ram ace Justin Fisher, who worked around some wildness to move to 6-0 on the year.
“We were able to track the ball better in the second game, and Halbur is very good and throws hard,” Ram center fielder Mitch Bowden said. “We have been on and off at times, but if we are going well, we are pretty good.”
Glenwood jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two and a half innings as Bowden, Brady Douma and Sam Jameson each drove in two runs. Douma’s hit was a home run that followed a Knight error.
“Everyone stepped up one through nine and put the ball in play in some key situations,” Elam said. “That was the difference in the ball games.”
The Knights were able to pull within 7-3 in the fifth and had multiple chances with runners in scoring position to pull even closer in the fifth and sixth innings. Those threats were averted by some nice plays by Ram defenders on well-struck balls, including a running catch to end the sixth with two runners in scoring position.
“That is the way baseball is and sometimes you hit balls hard and they find the holes and sometimes they don’t,” Snyder said. “You don’t change anything because you are hitting the ball good, but good teams teach you what you need to work on.”
Glenwood (21-6) ........................... 000 100 0—1 2 0
Carroll Kuemper (22-5) ........................... 000 311 x—5 12 1
W: Chris Halbur, 5-0. L: Tyler Jensen, 4-2. 2B: CK, Halbur. 3B: CK, Nick Greteman.
Glenwood (22-6) ........................... 222 101 7—15 14 0
Carroll Kuemper (22-6) ........................... 001 020 1— 4 8 4
W: Justin Fisher, 6-0. L: Zach Klocke, 2-1. 2B: G, Tyler Jensen, Corey Bertini, Brady Douma, Mitch Bowden, Wyatt Schulz, Sam Jameson. CK, Bryce Wessels, Carter Ludwig. 3B: CK, Kolby Hilgenberg. HR: G, Schulz, Douma.