ALBURNETT - They’ve already shown several times this season that they can compete against the very best teams in the state.
So, when the Springville baseball team made a trip to class 1A sixth-ranked Alburnett Monday, June 11, Oriole coach Tony Dlouhy knew his team was going to be up for the challenge.
He was exactly right, too, as Springville gave the talented Pirates all they could handle in both games of a thrilling Tri-Rivers Conference doubleheader.
“It was great to see that the boys knew they were worthy and more than capable of beating a very good Alburnett team,” said Dlouhy, as his team was edged in a pair of walk-off losses, the second coming in 11 innings.
“We fought hard with the sixth-ranked team in the state and could have very easily won both games. We’re not quite to where Alburnett is as a program right now, but we’re getting there. That, there is no doubt.”
Springville (6-10-1, 5-10-1) lost the first game as the Pirates plated the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh breaking a 2-2 tie.
The Orioles trailed 2-0 early on as Alburnett scored twice in the bottom of the first, but Springville rallied as a Kyle Gustafson triple scored teammates Bryce Wilson and Gabe Dlouhy with the game-tying third -inning runs.
The Orioles out-hit the Pirates 6-3 with Zach March pacing the Springville offense with a single and a double.
March also pitched a germ going 6.2 innings allowing just two hits and no earned run while fanning three.
The second game also saw plenty of drama, as the Orioles rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
March and Gustafson crossed the plate in the top of the sixth to pull the visitors within a run before Wilson drove home pinch-runner Tommy Hagensick in the top of the seventh to knot the score and force extra frames.
“We had so many chances to win this game,” Dlouhy said. “We had the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth and couldn’t push a run across. That was a big missed opportunity.”
Alburnett plated the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
“Tough way to lose, but also tough not to be extremely proud of this team,” Dlouhy said. “Once again we showed we can play with the best teams in the state, and one day, soon, we’re going to start winning our fair share of these.”
Blake Jordan tallied two hits and two RBIs in the heart stopping nightcap while Alex Koppes, Will Strait, Gustafson and Wilson all took the hill for the visitors, combining to allow a mere eight hits.
The Orioles stepped out of Tri-Rivers Conference play Tuesday, June 12, hosting Anamosa and rolled to an 11-7 triumph.
“We had a very late night at Alburnett just the day before playing Anamosa and really didn’t show up with our best stuff,” Dlouhy said. “I knew we might be in trouble because we were not playing to our capabilities, but still we managed to find a way to win.”
It was the Raiders who made the early statement plating five second-inning runs to take a 6-2 lead.
But the Orioles had the answer.
Springville scored nine of the game’s next 10 runs, including five in the bottom of the second to take a 7-6 advantage they would not lose.
Kyle Koppes’ two hits led the Oriole offense while Henry Hoogland, Gabe Dlouhy, Jordan and Wilson all took turns with short stints on the mound.
Springville was back on the road Thursday, June 14, where the Orioles were handed 12-1 and 7-2 setbacks against host Maquoketa Valley.
“In the first game we had three untimely errors and when you spot a team as good as Maquoketa Valley seven runs in the very first inning, that will make things tough,” Dlouhy said. “We didn’t hit the ball, either and it ended pretty quickly in five inning.”
Oriole bats were held hitless in the opener before an Alex Koppes single in the third inning of the nightcap was Springville’s first hit of the twinbill.
Trailing 5-0 in the sixth inning of game two, Caleb Weber and March crossed the plate to get the visitors on the board.