GREENFIELD – Nodaway Valley’s struggles continued on the baseball diamond in a 14-1 loss to Mount Ayr Monday night.
The loss makes it three straight for the Wolverines, bringing them to 1-5 in their last six games.
Mount Ayr hammered the ball on its way to 17 hits. Nodaway Valley filling up the zone was one of the leading causes to the total being relatively high, said NV head coach Dan Jameson.
“Mount Ayr put the ball in play well,” said Jameson. “We’re still allowing too good of a (swing from Mount Ayr). We’re not getting out of the zone enough on 0-2, 1-2 at times and we’re allowing too many hits there. Mount Ayr hit the ball well and they made things happen.”
The first inning had Mount Ayr take the advantage before Nodaway Valley could bat, similar to its softball counterparts (see accompanying story) and from there Nodaway Valley was working its way out a hole that gradually got deeper with no answers.
A leadoff Kolben Klommhaus single followed by a Cayden Klommhaus single led to both runners scoring on fielder’s choices.
Mount Ayr stranded runners on-base to end the first, but a three-run homer from Isaac Grose in the second helped get Mount Ayr back in motion to make it 5-0.
A Briar Knapp RBI double made it 6-0, and another run found its way across as Mount Ayr cruised into the seventh with what was then an 8-0 lead.
Nodaway Valley crumbled and couldn’t hold Mount Ayr back as five hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch turned into a six-run seventh inning.
An RBI single from Mason Menefee to score Caelen DeVault was the only run-scoring play for the Wolverines in the seventh inning.
Knowing the Wolverines have historically played the Raiders hard, Mount Ayr co-head coach Chris Elwood told his team to sit and wait on their pitch against NV’s starter Colby Harris.
“I know they’re a tough team. We always have tough games with them,” said Elwood. “Last year they beat us by a run here (at Nodaway Valley), we beat them by a run at Mount Ayr. ... I knew Harris was going to be on the mound and we always struggle with Harris. ... We knew what we were in for. I told the guys to sit back and be patient and wait for their pitch. Boy, did they ever.”
The win comes after a 15-5 loss to Martensdale-St. Marys Friday night, a loss that broke the Raiders’ five-game winning steak to open the season. Elwood feared it would set the Raiders off track, but he’s glad it didn’t.
“I was worried about our psyche coming in,” said Elwood. “Briar (Knapp) threw well and we just hit the heck out of the ball I believe. ... Very, very happy. It gives us good momentum going into tomorrow. ... Very pleased with our effort tonight.”
Klommhaus finished his night 3-for-4 with four runs scored and Jaixen Frost was 3-for-4. Grose had three RBIs by way of the homer. Lambert and Frost each had three runs scored. Knapp pitched six innings with seven strikeouts.
On the other end, Nodaway Valley was unable to get anything across the plate until the game was well out of reach. Chances were there for the Wolverines, who didn’t go down in order after the first inning, but none came together.
“We put together rallies, but we just couldn’t quite finish to full fruition. They kind of started at the bottom of the order a few times too,” said Jameson. “We’re kind of young, and that’s not a real excuse 11 games in, but we just have to keep working at it and building up.”
Going forward, Jameson is looking to erase the game and bring a new, clean slate to their next game.
“You don’t want to dwell on the past. You want to learn from it and move on and try to make ourselves better from each negative situation and make yourself better,” said Jameson. “Keep fighting and stay together as a team. Never give up.”
UP NEXT – Mount Ayr faces Bedford at 7:30 at home today (Tuesday) while Nodaway Valley faces East Union Wednesday at 7 p.m. at home.