CALAMUS — With a conference championship within its grasp, the Calamus-Wheatland baseball team stuck to its winning formula.
Hosting Prince of Peace in a doubleheader, the Warriors — ranked fourth in Class 1A — were dominant on the mound, powerful at the plate, and opportunistic on the base paths.
And when the twin bill was over, the Warriors were Tri-Rivers Conference champions as well.
Cal-Wheat’s two big victories over the Irish — it won 15-0 in the first game, 12-2 in the second — completed a 25-1 mark in league play to give the Warriors their first Tri-Rivers crown.
The hosts scored in every inning they batted in the opener, piling up 14 hits, to end things in four innings.
Every Cal-Wheat batter had at least one hit, one RBI or one run, and the top of the Warriors order — Chase Knoche, Hunter Rickels and Caleb Banowetz — especially feasted on Prince of Peace pitching, going 8-of-11 at the plate with nine RBIs and six runs scored.
Max Hansen slugged both a double and a triple for his two hits, while Banowetz drove in five runs.
Banowetz also earned the victory on the mound. After getting a groundout to start the game, the junior retired every other Irish batter with a strikeout.
Prince of Peace scored in each of the first two innings of the nightcap, but Cal-Wheat scored three runs in both the first and third innings and then finished things early again with a six-run fifth.
Hansen provided the highlight of the fifth, hitting an inside-the-park home run that also plated teammate Tyler Rowold.
That was one of four hits in the frame. The last — a double by Knoche with the bases loaded — gave the Warriors the three runs they needed to end the game early.
Senior Brant Boeckmann earned the victory on the mound, allowing just the two runs — only one of which was earned — and striking out seven batters.
The Warrior helped his own cause at the plate, too, with a team-high three hits.
Knoche, Rowold, and Hansen all added two hits. Hansen’s two hits were a triple and a home run, and the senior joined Knoche by driving in three runs.
Magnus Sands scored three times for the Warriors, who had six extra-base hits.
Cal-Wheat finished its regular season a night later with a non-conference game against Camanche that was held at a neutral site — Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids.
The Warriors offense stayed hot, scoring in four of the first five innings to build a 9-0 lead in an eventual 9-2 victory.
Cal-Wheat had just two more hits than the Indians, 6-4, but also coaxed six walks and took advantage of four errors.
The nine runs were plenty of support for Hansen on the mound. The senior allowed just four hits — the first coming in the fifth inning — and the two runs, while striking out a career-high 14 batters.
Knoche and Rickels both had two hits for the Warriors (30-3 overall, 25-1 in Tri-Rivers play), with Rowold driving in two runs and Knoche, Seth Beuthien and Austin Henning all scoring twice.