By Ross Bercik
The North Tama Redhawks have had a season of inconsistent consistency so far in 2012, thanks in part to a young team that has the ability to get hot quickly... and cool off just as fast.
The North Tama baseball team reeled off three straight wins before dropping three in a row over the weekend. The first game of that losing streak came at home against conference heavyweight and still-undefeated Don Bosco Catholic. The junior varsity team played first, with varsity action following. In JV action, first baseman Justin Coshow (pictured above) applies the tag at first, getting there just a few milliseconds too late to pick off the runner. Right, Mitchell Ackman makes solid contact with a pitch in the third inning. The team returns home Monday to face Meskwaki.
The boys seemed poised to get on a roll early this season, at least offensively, with a 15-5 win over Northeast Hamilton in the home opener on May 23. Jacob Wrage pitched five strong innings, striking out nine en route to the victory.
Center fielder Dalton Hulme was a force to be reckoned with offensively, driving in five runs on three hits and stealing a base. Hulme also drew a walk and scored three runs on his own. Catcher Justin Jacobs also added a pair of RBI.
The boys headed back on the road the following day, and played well enough to earn a 6-4 win over North Linn. Dalton Hulme was on the mound, going 8 1/3 innings and striking out six, while allowing eight hits and three earned runs.
Offense was much more tempered for the Redhawks in this contest, with only one player, Brandon Kaufman, recording more than one hit in the game. Hulme helped his cause by driving in two runs.
The boys won their third straight game the following week on a trip to Janesville, where they walloped the host team 13-3. Jacob Wrage was dominant on the mound, going seven innings and allowing just one earned run on four hits. Wrage struck out eight against just three walks.
Senior first baseman Brian Seda drive in three runs on four hits, and Justin Jacobs, Brent Billerbeck and Dalton Hulme all had two RBI apiece in the blowout victory. Mitchell Ackman utilized his speed to get in scoring position by stealing two bases in the game.
The Redhawks seemed poised to build their momentum into a long winning streak, but it was not to be. Against Don Bosco Catholic on Friday and in the tournament they hosted on Saturday, the boys dropped three straight games despite getting things going offensively over the weekend.
Against Don Bosco, the boys were simply overmatched against the division leaders, who have yet to lose a game in the 2012 season.
Dalton Hulme and Justin Jacobs combined to pitch a decent game, but the North Tama offense failed to get anything going. No player recorded more than one hit in the game, and right fielder Justin Coshow recorded the lone RBI.
On Saturday, the team played two games in tournament action, hosting North Linn and Iowa Valley. In the opener, the Redhawks found their stroke and put eight runs on the board, but couldn't stop the opposition, losing 15-8. Justin Jacobs led the team with three RBI on three hits, but the pitching just wasn't there. Brian Seda had a rough day, giving up eight earned runs in four innings of work. Brandon Kaufman also had a tough time, giving up six runs in two innings of relief work. Justin Coshow pitched one scorless inning.
It was again a case of failing to put the increased offense together with solid pitching in the second game, which the Redhawks dropped 5-2 against Iowa Valley. Coshow gave up four earned runs in three innings, but Jacobs was able to stop the bleeding on the defensive side, giving up just one run in the final three innings. He also struck out three.
The offense failed to put enough runs on the board to make it a contest, with just three hits on the day.
At the end of Monday, the Redhawks sat at 3-4 in the division, which puts them in fifth place in the Iowa Star Conference. The boys' next home contest is Monday, June 11, against Meskwaki. For the full baseball schedule, turn to page 8 of this week's Star-Clipper.