Sweet 16 for red-hot Triton baseball squad
The eighth-ranked Iowa Central baseball team had little trouble extending their win streak to 16 games here Wednesday afternoon.
Behind a dominating pitching performance by Tyler Olson and first inning home runs from Colten Becker and Will Smoot, the Tritons rolled past Southwestern at Rogers Park in their ICCAC opener, 14-1 in seven innings.
Olson, a former Webster City all-stater, struck out 12 without walking a batter, improved to 3-0 on the year and 6-1 at Iowa Central (20-1 overall, 1-0 in league). He allowed just six hits and one earned run.
“Tyler was really just on,” ICCC head coach Eric Stein said. “He’s always been a kid that throws strikes, and he was doing that right from the first batter of the game. We gave him a lead and he went out and protected it inning after inning.”
Becker, who finished with two homers and six RBI in the game, had a three-run blast in the first with Smoot following by hitting a two-run homer. Jackson Tessman also cleared the bases with a home run.
Smoot and Tessman each drove in three, while Evan Borst had three hits. Max Aug finished things off with a three-strikeout seventh.
Olson had made four appearances earlier this spring, striking out 12 in seven-plus innings. This was his first start, though, as he put his new pitch on full-display.
“I added a third pitch this offseason,” Olson said. “It’s hard to be a two-pitch guy in this league. Also, I added some velocity to my fastball and slider.
“My slider was really working. It kept getting called and I kept throwing it. I also had a lot of confidence in my defense, so that helps knowing they’re behind you.”
The Tritons finished the first with a 5-0 lead, adding a run in the second, four in the fourth and four more in the sixth. Southwestern’s lone run came in the fourth.
Borst also scored three runs, with Michael Siemer, Becker, Caleb Corbin and Smoot each scoring twice. Borst reached base four times in all, recording two singles, a triple and a walk.
“It was a perfect day and you could sense that the guys were really excited to start the conference season,” Stein said. “There was just a really good vibe from the dugout. Tyler pitched great and our offense got going up and down the lineup.”
Olson went 3-1 as a freshman, striking out 29 in 32-plus innings. He made six starts and seven appearances overall, and is one of the more experienced members of a pitching staff that lost Brett Sears, John Klein and Easton Dermody from a season ago.
Those three combined to win 23 games while recording 275 strikeouts.
“This year has been one to remember so far,” Olson said. “We have had a sense of urgency all year and we hold ourselves to a high standard.
“It felt really nice to get that first conference win, we did what we needed to do and took care of business.”
The Triton batters recorded 13 hits, drew five walks and struck out just four times on the day.
After playing eight in a row at home, Iowa Central hits the road for a three-game set in Centerville beginning Saturday with Indian Hills.