Go-Hawks stay hot with DH sweep over Comets
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — The “Key” to victory for the Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks in the first game of Wednesday’s Northeast Iowa Conference doubleheader against hosting Charles City was aptly represented by junior starting pitcher Chance Key.
Key went the seven-inning distance for the Go-Hawks’ 10-3 win while striking out 13, walking three and scattering seven hits.
The left-handed hurler who bats right-handed was also a factor at the plate, going 4 for 4 with a double and a solo home run to straight-away center field.
Though he obviously emerged as the “Player of the Game,” Key got off to a foreboding start.
Comet leadoff hitter Colton Crooks nearly hit his second home run in as many games when he doubled off the left-field “Orange Monster” on Key’s first pitch of the game.
Returning to the lineup for Charles City’s Monday NEIC game against New Hampton after being the top shooter for the Charles City/Nashua-Plainfield trapshooting team at the State Tournament in Cedar Falls, Crooks hit his first varsity home run during the Comets’ 5-2 loss to the Chickasaws.
Jaxon Daniels was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI; JJ Ritter was 2 for 2 and reached base three times; and Logan Carey doubled for the Comets in the first game loss.
The Go-Hawks got another strong starting pitching performance from Carson Graven in the second game — a 9-1 W-SR win to cap the sweep.
Graven struck out six in four innings with the 1 run scored against him being unearned.
Senior Benjamin Buseman relieved Graven in the fifth, and utilizing a breaking ball with knuckleball-like movement, held the Comets hitless in three innings while striking out five.
Graven and Key each had two hits, doubled and drove in 2 runs for the Go-Hawks.
Ritter doubled for Charles City’s lone extra-base hit in the second game.
The teams met at juxtaposed junctures of their respective seasons.
The doubleheader sweep was the Go-Hawks’ ninth- and 10th-straight wins of the season while improving their record to 15-2 and 7-2 in the NEIC.
For the Comets, they suffered their seventh and eighth consecutive losses and fell to 5-4 in their conference
On Thursday, the Comets hosted Clear Lake in a non-conference game and lost 6-5 as Charles City’s current skid reached nine while falling to 5-12 overall
Trailling by 2 (6-4) going into the bottom of the sixth, Jeremiah Chapman led off with a double followed by a walk drawn by Ritter.
Kaden Barry laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt which prompted a throwing error that scored Chapman.
But Lion reliever Andrew Formanek managed to get out the inning with no further damage and pitched a shutout seventh to close the door.