Generals bow out to Knights
SHELDON, Iowa -- With a 12-2 loss to Unity Christian Monday in District 2 baseball action, the Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals were eliminated, and end their season with an 11-15 record.
"It's always a disappointment," Sibley-Ocheyedan head coach Daryl Tutje said. "Unless you're the state champion, you always end the season with a loss. It's always tough to make the adjustment to not playing baseball anymore."
The Unity Christian Knights jumped out to an early lead in the second inning.
Eric Faber reached on an error and advanced to second on a groundout. James Rowenhorst then walked, and Aaron Floen singled to drive in two runs. Floen was picked off second to end the threat.
The Generals -- playing as the home team -- had a chance to score in the bottom of the inning as Craig Jacobsma singled, but was stranded.
"We weren't hitting the ball badly," Tutje said. "We were getting guys on base, but we weren't getting the key hit."
The Knights' bats came alive again in the fourth inning. Brady Goslinga was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but on one pitch, the Generals had two outs. Pitcher Matt Juber struck out Rowenhorst, and catcher Matt Jurgens threw out the runner on the same pitch. S-O appeared to be out of the inning unscathed.
However, Harry Byl singled, and Floen was hit with a pitch to bring up the top of the order. Jeff Kiel then hit a Juber pitch over the right-center field fence for a three-run home run, and the Knights held a 5-0 advantage.
"It definitely felt better to be ahead five nothing than two nothing," Unity Christian head coach Marlin Schoonhoven said. "With this little field, it's pretty easy to be back in the ballgame in a hurry here. He's my leadoff batter, but he's my leader in home runs too."
Lucas Kurtzleben also scored in the inning, as the Knights held a 6-0 lead after four innings.
"That pretty well deflated us," Tutje said of the home run. "I thought we were still in it at that point."
S-O threatened again in the fourth, but the Generals stranded two runners, and were unable to score a run.
Unity's offense came alive again in the top of the fifth.
Faber led off the inning with a single, and Goslinga followed suit. Faber scored on a mishandled bunt, and Goslinga would also score in the inning. Floen had a two-RBI single in the inning, as 11 Knights batted and six runs were scored. With the six runs, Unity Christian pushed the score to 12-0.
The Generals would not go quietly in the bottom of the fifth, however. Mike Berkland led off the inning with a single, and Juber followed with a walk. Greg Hiemstra hit the ball hard, but right at Knight's first baseman Travis Dekkers, who caught the line drive and doubled Berkland off second for two outs in the inning.
Jurgens and Shayne Scheulke both singled, and Marshall Doeden drove in two with a single, as the Generals pulled to within 10.
S-O failed to cross the plate again, as the game ended in five innings, 12-2.
"I thought we were going to get there," Tutje said. "We had a pretty good hitter at the plate. I thought we were going to at least play another inning and keep ourselves in it."
On the other side, Schoonhoven was not overly worried in the bottom of the fifth, but was happy to see the game finally end.
"I wasn't overly worried, but you never know," Schoonhoven said. "Anybody can beat anybody at any time. It's never over until the last out, so that's why I was glad to see a pop fly to my first baseman."
Juber suffered the loss for S-O. He threw four innings, allowing 11 runs on nine hits, while striking out two. Scheulke threw the last inning, and allowed just two hits.
"I didn't think we played that badly, we were just outmatched," Tutje said. "Matt (Juber) pitched a few very good innings, but they (UC) are a good experienced ball club, and they caught on to him pretty well."
Schoonhoven praised Juber, and said that his team was helped by a few lucky breaks.
"Juber's going to be a good pitcher; he's only a sophomore," Schoonhoven said. "He has a good breaker. With time, he's only going to be better. It took an inning or two for guys to see him, after that they settled down a little bit. I didn't think we hit his curveball as well as we should have, but we got a few hits and a few breaks."
S-O made five errors in the field, while the Knights made just one error.
"We made a couple errors, and they made some breaks with their bunts that we couldn't get fielded," Tutje said.
Kiel earned the victory on the hill for the Knights. He allowed two runs on eight his while striking out five in five innings.
Kiel also led the way offensively for the Knights. He had two hits and drove in four, including a three-run home run. Floen also drove in four, while Byl and Dekkers each had two hits for Unity Christian.
Scheulke and Doeden each had two hits for S-O. Doeden drove in two, while Juber and Jurgens each scored a run.
The Knights improve to 18-11 and will move on to play again Wednesday night.
"We're just as beatable as anybody else," Schoonhoven said. "We're not outstanding by any means. We have a pretty decent hitting ball club, but if our defense fails, we're in trouble."
R H E
UC 020 46 -- 12 11 1
S-O 000 02 -- 2 8 5