Week four provides highs and lows for Eagles baseball

Keota had a frustrating night at the plate when they played HLV on June 13, silenced for all but one inning. A brief rally started with a single from Riley Conrad who wound up scoring the only run for Keota.

Coming into the fourth week of baseball the Keota Eagles weren’t necessarily in a rut, but they weren’t flying high either. The week prior they started off with a convincing win then had their second game rained out and lost their third. They were hoping to bounce back into the win column, but it wouldn’t be easy as they faced conference leader Colfax-Mingo on June 11. They were able to keep the Tigers bats cool while getting their own going in a big 10-3 win.

    Colfax-Mingo struck first with a run in the top half of the second inning and Keota couldn’t generate any consistent offense until the third. From there, the bats got cooking. Keota put together two runs in the third and three more in the fourth, putting them ahead 5-2 at the time. Colfax-Mingo kept chipping away, but Keota limited them to one run per inning with the Tigers scoring in three of the seven innings of play.

    “Our bats stayed hot against Colfax-Mingo and we had some timely hits,” Keota coach Tanner McClenahan said. “It was about finding the gaps and relying on our pitchers to cool them off.”

    Keota had their best inning of offense in the fifth by tacking on another five runs, the final runs that either team would score. Austin Waterhouse was a big reason why the Eagles got the win as he contributed with a bat and on the mound. Austin powered a hit over the fence for a home run, bringing in two runs and scored twice in the game. On the mound, he allowed two hits and three runs scored, while fanning five.

    Colton Clarahan, the young closer for the Eagles, finished out the last three innings on the mound. He threw 29 pitches, allowed two hits, no walks and struck out two.

    Keota leaders: Jack Eakins/Tyler Waterhouse – 2 hits, Hunter Wilson/Austin Waterhouse – 2 runs, Austin Waterhouse – 1 HR, Jack Eakins – 3 RBIs, Austin Waterhouse – 5 Ks

    Following the big win, Keota traveled to play HLV on June 13 in a battle of teams finding their stride midseason. HLV put Keota in a six-run hole early in the first inning and the deficit continued to mount in each inning.

    “I wanted to see us come out and have the belief we could compete with another good team,” McClenahan said. “I think we came out and we thought if we could win this game we’d put ourselves in a good position in the conference.”

    Keota managed to get a run in the fourth with Riley Conrad getting aboard with a single into the shallow outfield. Tyler Waterhouse was walked to get runners on first and second with no outs with potential for a big inning. Carson Sprouse brought home Eakins with an RBI single but that was the only run Keota would score in the inning. HLV plated two more runs to send the Eagles home with a 1-12 loss after four innings of play.

    “I wanted us to focus on making one play at a time and I think we got kind of ahead of ourselves,” McClenahan said. “I really wanted to see our guys compete hard no matter what.”

    The Eagles were back home when they faced North Mahaska on June 15. The Warhawks had won four of their past five games but were looking to regroup from a rout against Sigourney, while Keota was hoping to get a win to end the week.

    North Mahaska struck first with three runs in the third and the Keota bats were kept quiet until the fifth. Keota could only get one run a time, which they did in the final three innings of play. The difference in the game was two more runs scored by North Mahaska in the top of the sixth and handed Keota a close 3-5 loss.

    “We can’t look ahead at what other teams are doing, we just have to focus on what we’re doing each inning ,” McClenahan said. “Every game is key now.”

    The Eagles were back on the road against Belle Plaine on June 18 before hosting English valleys on June 20.