War Eagles baseball season begins, highlighted by home game in Elkader

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Nate Meier connects with a pitch in the War Eagles’ loss to Starmont. (Photo by Jarod Bormann)

Ashton Thiese recorded five strikeouts against the Stars, but Clayton Ridge-Central lost 6-2. (Photo by Jarod Bormann)

Braxton Bormann lets the War Eagle defense know there is one out in the game versus the Stars. (Photo by Jarod Bormann)

Darlene Dittmer, wife of the late Jack Dittmer, whose name graces Central’s Dittmer Athletic Complex, threw out the ceremonial first pitch last week in what was the Clayton Ridge-Central War Eagles’ first home game in Elkader in over 10 years. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

Central alumni Hazen Loan (left) and CJ Polkinghorn accompanied Dittmer to the mound as Central Principal Aaron Reinhart did the introduction. Dittmer threw an underhanded strike to Polkinghorn, who returned the ball afterward. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

War Eagle fans enjoyed last week's game against Central City under the lights at Dittmer Sports Complex in Elkader. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Clayton Ridge-Central War Eagles baseball season got underway last week, as the War Eagles traveled to play the Starmont Stars on Monday before ending the week on a field that hasn’t seen varsity baseball action in over 10 years, when they played under the lights of the Jack Dittmer Athletic Complex in Elkader.


Against the Stars, the War Eagles got out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and held on to the slim lead until the Stars pushed across the tying run in the bottom of the fourth. The close game suddenly took a turn in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Starmont put up five runs. The War Eagle rally fell short in the top of the sixth and the Stars claimed a 6-2 victory. 


The War Eagle offense put together a solid seven-hit effort, while inducing two walks. Eighth grader Owen Hammersland was an offensive leader for the War Eagles, going 2 for 2 at the plate with one single, one double and one RBI. Max Nuehring went 1 for 1 with a single and scored a run, while Caden Helle singled and scored a run and Kahne Bolsinger doubled and drove in one run. 


On the mound, a combination of Nuehring and Ashton Thiese put in six quality innings, striking out 12 while walking six. The duo also combined for an ERA of 4.67 and held the Stars to a .167 batting average. 


In the second game of the week, the War Eagles played the New Hampton Chickasaws at Robertson Woods Field in Fayette. The game quickly got away from the War Eagles, and the Chickasaws went on to win 13-0. 


The CR-C offense finished with three hits, all singles, walked twice and struck out seven times. Nate Meier, Jordan Everitt and Dominique Mast were responsible for the three hits. 


Defensively, the War Eagles committed six errors and gave up 19 stolen bases, but finished with 15 putouts and four assists. 


The War Eagles sent two pitchers to the mound, one being Jack Scherf, who gave up five hits and five earned runs and struck out two batters over two innings. Meier went for three innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs and striking out four. 


The final game of the week, the return of baseball to Elkader, featured Darlene Dittmer, the wife of the late Jack Dittmer, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. A sizeable crowd enjoyed an impromptu singing of the National Anthem by a group of Central students when the sound system malfunctioned. It all added to a grand homecoming for the War Eagles, who routed Central City 10-3.


The victory included a seven-run first inning in which the War Eagles batted around the order in an impressive display of offensive potential and base running. 


The CR-C offense put up six hits, all of them singles, while taking 10 walks, including five hit-by-pitches. Nuehring went 1 for 3 with two RBIs and one run, followed by Bolsinger, who was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run. Helle went 1 for 2 with one RBI and one run and Isaac Loan went 1 for 1 and scored a run. Elliot Kelly recorded two runs after reaching base twice on hit-by-pitches. Seven stolen bases on eight attempts aided the offense, with seven players recording a stolen base. 


On the mound, the War Eagles got a complete game out of Helle, who pitched seven innings, giving up just three hits, three walks and two earned runs, while striking out 17 and holding the Wildcat offense to a .125 batting average. 


The War Eagles have two double-headers this week, starting at South Winneshiek May 23. The team will play two against Postville on Thursday, May 25.

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