Eau Claire North has become a baseball team very tough to deal with.
City rival Memorial found that out Tuesday night at Carson Park.
Combining a 12-hit attack with the 3-hit pitching of Sam Stange, the Huskies made it 11 straight with a six inning 10-0 win in a series that has been historically close.
“We were all fired up, ready to go and knew what we had to do,” said North second sacker Joel Zachow, who rapped two hits and drove in three runs. “We pull for each other and these are all team wins.”
The victory for the 14-3 Huskies keeps them alive in the Big Rivers Conference title chase. They are 7-2 and trail 9-0 Chippewa Falls, which defeated River Falls (10-1) by 6-5 Tuesday. North closes the conference season with two games with Chippewa Falls next week.
“The city game is always a tough one,” North coach Bob Johnson said. “Memorial has great players sitting in their dugout and they had a tough pitcher on the mound.”
But he said since the Huskies’ season-opening two losses at River Falls, the coaching staff has taken what is in front of them and moved slowly.
“Right now, we are having competitive at bats,” Johnson said. “We force a lot of pitches and battle and battle.”
That was the design of victory Tuesday as they forced Memorial pitcher Vince Trapani to throw pitches into the 80s in three innings, getting an unearned run in the first and then breaking it open with five runs on six hits in the third.
In the third, Gabe O’Brien and Gabe Richardson slammed doubles and Zachow drove in two runs with a single. But almost everybody in the lineup chipped in the relentless attack.
“Saturday (in a sweep of Wisconsin Rapids) we used all 15 players,” Johnson said. “Our team is competing well 1 through 15.”
The Huskies finished it off with two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, getting a run-scoring double from O’Brien and a two-run double by Jaxon Vance, who drove in three runs in all.
The barrage made it a piece of cake for Stange, the senior lefty who allowed just three hits, struck out 10 and did not walk a batter.
“Stange was very impressive, he was completely in command,” Memorial coach Dan Roehl said. “He put on a clinic with his three pitches.”
Roehl defended Trapani, his sophomore righthander, who left after North’s five-run third.
“We talked with the guys about the necessity of getting out on top,” he said. “Vince is very effective when on top and if we could’ve done it, it could have been a different ball game.”
That didn’t happen as the Old Abes (8-10, 2-7) were limited to singles by Grant Gerber, Cooper Kapanke and Mitch Voller and got only one runner as far as second.
That was in contrast to North, led by freshman Richardson with two doubles and a single and two hits each by O’Brien and Zachow.
“I felt good, trying to get a fastball in the zone in my appearances,” Zachow said. “When you score five runs in an inning, everybody is comfortable at the plate.”
The two teams meet in a rematch Thursday at 6 p.m.
NORTH 10, MEMORIAL 0
AB-R-H-RBI: Gabe O’Brien, cf, 3-1-2-1, Carter Hesselman, ss, 4-1-0-0, Sam Stange, p, 4-1-1-1, Anthony Pogodzinski, dh, 1-1-1-1, Ely Johnson, ph, 1-1-1-0, Gabe Richardson, 1b, 4-2-3-1, Cal Fadness, lf, 3-1-0-0, Jaxon Vance, 3b, 4-1-1-3, Joel Zachow, 2b, 4-1-2-3, Keegan Dehnke, rf, 4-0-1-0, Joe Feck, c, 0-0-0-0. Totals 32-10-12-10.
Andrew Roberts, cf, 3-0-0-0, Mitch Voller, lf, 3-0-1-0. Kaden Kohlhepp, 2b, 3-0-0-0, Cooper Kapanke, 1b, 3-0-1-0, Jack Fentress, c, 3-0-0-0, Vince Trapani, p, 1-0-0-0, Carson Soukup. 3b, 1-0-0-0, Connor Stoik, ss, 1-0-0-0, Jack Piper, 3b\p, 1-0-0-0, Alex Krajewski, ph, 1-0-0-0, Grant Gerber, dh, 2-0-1-0, Chase Bredl, rf, 0-0-0-0. Totals 22–0-3-0.
North 105 022 — 10 12 0
Memorial 000 000 — 0 3 2
E — Stoik, Fentress. LOB — North 8, Memorial 5. 2B –Richardson 2, O’Brien 2, Vance. SB – Hesselman, Johnson.
IP H R ER BB SO
Stange, W 6 3 0 0 0 10
Trapani, L 3 7 6 5 2 3
Piper 3 5 4 2 0 1
WP – Trapani. PB – Feck. HBP – Pogodzinski (by Trapani, by Piper), Stoik (by Stange). U – Eric Harmon, Troy Ingli. T – 1:57.