NL baseball holds off Danville in 9-6 win
NEW LONDON — The New London baseball team scored in each of the first four innings and then held on through Danville’s comeback attempt to win a Southeast Iowa Super Conference South Division home game on Tuesday night, 9-6.
“It was good to finally hang on to one, to do what it takes at the end,” New London Coach Brad Helmerson said.
The Tigers have struggled to finish games this season, giving up late leads in a few of their contests.
“We’ve lost a couple conference games that we shouldn’t have,” Helmerson said.
But last night, despite Danville’s best efforts, the Tigers held on through the end for the victory.
“We actually kept our heads up,” Christianer said. “The infield was talking, the outfield was talking, and the bats were going. We stayed postive the whole time.”
Despite some heartbreaking losses earlier in the season, Christianer said he didn’t lose faith in his team last night.
“I felt we had enough energy to keep it going, and our bats were off the charts,” he said. “I was never nervous.”
The Tigers started the game strong, scoring three runs in the first two innings on three hits — including a double by Cameron Watson — and two walks.
They then caught fire in the third inning. Christianer led off with a double, and the Tigers got RBI singles from Jayden Flowers, Dalton Dudley, Watson and Quincy Porter, who knocked in two runs. Tyler Shinkle also singled in the inning; Jacob Bench was hit by a pitch and came around to score.
The five-run frame gave New London all it would need for the win, but the team tacked on an insurance run in the sixth for a 9-1 lead.
Danville started its comeback in the fifth inning when it scored three runs, but New London pitcher Flowers stopped them in their tracks.
With bases loaded and no one out, Flowers took the mound and struck out the side to end the inning.
He threw the last two frames of the contest as well, allowing two runs in three innings, giving up four hits and no walks. He struck out five.
“When you’ve got the bases loaded and no one out and you bring in a freshman, you’re hoping for the best — and he stayed strong,” Helmerson said.
The win ups the Tigers’ record to 7-12 overall and 6-7 in the SEISC South.
“It’s nice to get a regular win, but when it’s a conference game, it feels great,” Christianer said.
The outfield defense was a big asset in the victory, as Christianer made a diving catch in shallow centerfield during the third inning to save a run, and Shinkle, the left fielder, limited extra bases with his cannon of an arm.
On the night, the Tigers had just one error.
“We had some really good plays in the outfield — Christianer had a huge catch for us and Shinkle had some great throws,” Helmerson said.
Shinkle is going into his junior year and is playing on the high school team for the first time.
“He’s come a long ways,” Helmerson said. “He’s hitting well for us, and he makes some good plays in the outfield. He has unbelievable talent.”
It was Shinkle’s throw from left-center to home plate that ended the Tigers’ last game against Danville, which was an eight-inning, 5-4 New London win.
The Tigers are now 2-1 against Danville on the year, and each matchup has been an exciting one. In their first game of the season, Danville defeated New London by a score of 19-18 after scoring five runs in the last inning.
The Tigers have been working on making sure a lead like that doesn’t slip away from them again, and they proved it to the Bears last night.
“We’ve got to get ready for the end of the season when it counts,” Helmerson said. “We’re trying to get them to stay postive and believe, and we’re learning every day. We’re young, and our future’s bright.”
Next up for the Tigers is a special matchup, as they take on Mediapolis at Community Field in Burlington. The varsity game starts at 5 p.m., followed by JV.
NEW LONDON vs. DANVILLE
Danville 010 032 0 — 6 9 2
New London 215 100 x — 9 11 1
WP — Hunter Moeller
New London — Dalton Dudley: 1-3, RBI, run. Jacob Bench: 0-1, BB, HBP, run. Jayden Flowers: 1-4, RBI, run. Matayo Christianer: 2-3, 2B, HBP, 2 RBI, 2 runs. Austin McBeth: 0-0, 2 runs. Quincy Porter: 1-4, 2 RBI. Cameron Watson: 2-2, 2B, 2 BB, 2 RBI. Hunter Moeller: 0-3, BB. Devon Smyth: 2-4, RBI, run. Tyler Shinkle: 2-4, run. Steals — Flowers, Christianer, McBeth and Shinkle.