CALAMUS – The start was inauspicious.
The response proved to be much better for the Calamus-Wheatland baseball team.
The Warriors found themselves in an early 3-0 hole in the finale of Saturday’s Warrior Invitational against Camanche.
But it did not last long as Cal-Wheat piled up 18 unanswered runs – including 12 in a monster second inning – to rout the Indians, 18-3, in four innings.
It was the second rout of the tournament for the Warriors – ranked fifth in Class 1A – who opened the four-game invite with a 10-0 shutout of North Cedar.
The finale got off to a rocky start for the Warriors. The first Camanche batter reached on a dropped third strike, the second was hit by a pitch, and the third drove in both of them with a three-run home run.
Things improved in a hurry though. Cal-Wheat cut its deficit to one in the bottom of the first – Chase Knoche scored on a passed ball, while Hunter Rickels stole home – and then took control of the game in the second.
The Warriors came to the plate 16 times in the inning and pounded out eight hits.
Rickels, in particular, batted twice in the inning and belted triples in both instances, while Caleb Banowetz provided the exclamation point to the inning with a two-run home run.
The Warriors finished things early with a four-run fourth.
Cal-Wheat loaded the bases without a hit before Banowetz drove in a pair with a double. Brant Boeckmann plated a third run with his single and then scored the deciding run on Seth Beuthien’s single.
Rickels, Banowetz, and Boeckmann combined for six of the Warriors’ 11 hits. Rickels had a hand in seven runs – scoring four times and driving in three – while Banowetz had a team-high four RBIs.
Knoche matched Rickels with four runs – Connor Scheer scored three times – and Banowetz bounced back from his early hiccup on the mound, allowing just two hits, while striking out 10 Indians.
The Warriors picked up a strong pitching performance in the first game as well as Max Hansen blanked North Cedar, allowing just four hits and striking out nine.
The Warriors offense, meanwhile, did the bulk of its damage in the second inning, plating seven runs.
Three scored on one swing of the bat from Rickels, who belted a three-run home run to right center and Banowetz followed moments later with his own blast for back-to-back home runs.
The Warriors added individual runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to end things early. Banowetz provided the capper, opening the sixth with his second home run.
Banowetz was the only Warrior with multiple hits – both of them home runs – but Rickels, Boeckmann, Hansen, and Austin Henning added individual hits.
Scheer, Banowetz, and Brian Forret all scored twice, while Rickels drove in three runs with his home run.
The two tournament victories continued a hot stretch for the Cal-Wheat offense as the Warriors scored 24 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Edgewood-Colesburg two days earlier.
Both games lasted just five innings. The Warriors scored in every frame of a 13-3 rout in the opener, then scored nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings of an 11-1 win in the nightcap.
Up just 2-1 in the second game, the Warriors plated five runs in the fourth – Rickels drove in two runs with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly, while Hansen plated two more with a triple – and then four more in the fifth to get up 10.
The Warriors did not record an out in the fifth. Scheer opened the inning with a single, Knoche walked, and Rickels singled to score Scheer before Banowetz ended the night with a three-run home run.
Rickels went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and three runs. Banowetz added three hits and also drove in three runs, thanks to his home run.
Hansen and Scheer added two hits with the former collecting two RBIs (as did Boeckmann) and the latter scoring twice (as did Beuthien).
Forret went the distance on the mound, spreading out six hits and allowing a single earned run, while striking out six.
Just as Camanche would two days later, the Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opener.
The Warriors, though, scored four runs in the bottom of the inning and never stopped scoring. A second four-run inning in the third made it 9-3 and Cal-Wheat scored twice in both the fourth and fifth to get the 10-run margin it needed to end the game early.
Four straight Cal-Wheat batters drove in runs in the bottom of the first – Boeckmann singled, Tyler Rowold doubled, Hansen tripled, and Forret doubled – to give the Warriors the lead, and the hosts piled up 15 hits.
Forret led the way with three – he had two doubles – and matched it with three RBIs.
Rickels, Banowetz, Rowold, Hansen, and Scheer all had two hits. Rowold and Scheer matched Forret with three RBIs, while Banowetz, Rowold, Hansen, and Forret all scored two runs.
Boeckmann allowed just five hits – only one after the Vikings’ big first inning – while striking out nine batters.