Reivers find their bats in win over Neosho
Iowa Western collects 17 hits to send Neosho County home
Iowa Western Community College coach Marc Rardin found his team.
The Reivers, who struggled to score runs in their first three games of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, broke loose Tuesday afternoon at Suplizio Field.
Iowa Western, which averaged 10.4 runs per game and led the nation with a .414 batting average, scored early and often, rolling to a 14-1 victory over Neosho County (Kan.) Community College in an elimination game.
“It’s about time,” Iowa Western catcher Levi Meyer said. “We had a few more hours rest. I think we came out strong and had a lot of life to us.”
Iowa Western, which now has scored 10 or more runs 31 times this season, produced 10 extra-base hits in the first two innings to put up 14 runs.
“It was definitely frustrating knowing we’re not doing what we can do,” Tanner Krietemeier said. “To have a game like this is a confidence booster. We’ve just got to come out and do it again.”
The Reivers (60-6) didn’t waste any time Tuesday, scoring seven runs on eight hits in the top of first inning.
Meyer got things started with a two-run double to right-center field and scored on Brandon Tierney’s double down the left-field line. Alex Greer doubled home two runs and scored on Sam Bumpers’ single. Iseha Conklin singled home Bumpers.
Iowa Western kept hitting in the second inning, putting up seven more runs. Meyer got the Reivers going again with a one-out triple. He scored on Tierney’s single. Krietemeier followed with a two-run home run to right-center. Bumpers, Conklin and Steven Leonard each drove in a run before the Reivers were done.
“They can flat hit,” Neosho coach Steve Murry said. “We left balls up, and they absolutely hammered them. They’re a very good club, and you get behind early, and that’s tough to come out of that hole. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do to stop that. Once they got contagious with it, it just kept going. It’s unfortunate to end the year like that, but they’re a good ball club.”
The 14 runs were the most the Panthers gave up this season. They allowed an opponent to score in double digits only one other time.
Although the offensive production was a welcome sight, Iowa Western pitcher AJ Gaura didn’t need it. The sophomore, who made the 2011 JUCO World Series All-Tournament team, limited Neosho to one run on four hits and struck out five in five innings.
“Number one, AJ is throwing strikes,” Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin said. “When you’re already down seven, it changes your at-bats. It changes the way Neosho wants to play the game. Then we score another seven, and it completely changes.
“For us, we can attack. On the mound we can attack. It relaxes your defense a little bit. All you’re trying to do is get outs. You’re not trying to conserve runs that much.”
Gaura’s performance gave Rardin’s pitching staff a much-appreciated additional day of rest to the Reivers’ day off today.
“Our pitching staff got to sit in the shade and watch the game,” Rardin said. “Nobody had to get up, nobody had to move. Between our bats, which was a relief for our team, then for AJ to go out and be in total control, it’s tough to pitch in the lead sometimes.”
Neosho (49-16) scored its only run in the bottom of the second inning on a groundout.