Eau Claire Pizza Hut/Post 53 got a scare in the opening round of the 24th annual River City Classic.
But the host team was able to come from behind to pull out a 3-1 win over Altoona Friday night at Carson Park.
“We knew a team coached by (Craig) Walter would give us a solid effort,” Pizza Hut Manger Mark Faanes said. “We had to battle to win it.”
Altoona took the lead on the first pitch of the game when Jake Nelson drilled a ball over the left field fence. It took Pizza Hut two innings to tie it and three to take the lead but it was still a one-run game going into the sixth.
“I figured we would play well, these are all our high school kids out there,” Walter said. “If you throw strikes good things will happen.”
Starter Jake Schwab scattered eight hits and walked three over the first five innings while Wyatt Keyeskie finished up. They kept Altoona in the game.
But Pizza Huts had one better in Austin Goetsch, who allowed just four hits and walked only one in going the distance.
“There was definitely some stress because the game was so tight,” Goetsch said. “But once we got the lead the stress backed off.”
Pizza tied it in the second when Joe Feck doubled home Jack Fentress, who had singled to lead off the inning.
Eau Claire scored the go-ahead run in the third when Logan Rasmussen was hit by a pitch (one of the three times in the game) and scored on Jack Fentress’ single.
Pizza Hut added an insurance tally in the sixth keyed by singles by Carter Hesselman and Ethan Kjellberg. On first,Kjellberg broke for second and got the attention of Keyeskie while Hesselman raced across the plate.
Pizza Hut was not lacking base hits, ripping off 10 but had a hard time converting them into runs.
“We just didn’t have anybody who could step up and get the big hit,” Faanes said.
Hesselman, Fentress and Feck got two hits each.
Nelson, an all-state player, shone with strong defensive play at shortstop besides his home run.
“That didn’t surprise me, he’s such a good hitter,” Walter said. “He also made some great plays in the field.”
Altoona’s other hits were singles by Jake Varsho, Riley Parks and Anthony Gianni. But Goetsch allowed no more than one baserunner in any inning.
In Friday’s first game, Marshfield rolled over the Green Bay Shockers 13-0 in five innings.
Play resumes at 10 this morning while Pizza Hut faces Green Bay at 12:30 p.m., and Marshfield at 8 p.m.
PIZZA HUT/POST 53 3, ALTOONA 1
AB-R-H-RBI: Jake Nelson, ss, 3-1-1-1, Jake Varsho, 2b, 3-0-1-0, Nate McMahon, cf, 3-0-0-0, Blake Loegering, 3b, 2-0-0-0, Justin Lau, c, 3-0-0-0, Riley Parks, dh, 3-0-1-0, Anthony Gianni, 1b, 3-0-1-0, Colin Watson, rf, 2-0-0-0, Kyle Rasmussen, rf, 1-0-0-0, Donovan Adrian, lf, 3-0-0-0, Ryan Krumenauer, cr, 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-1-3-1.
PIZZA HUT (3)
Gabe O’Brien, cf, 3-0-1-0, Logan Ramussen, 3b, 1-1-1-0, Carter Hesselman, ss, 4-1-2-0, Ethan Kjellberg, dh, 3-0-1-0, Cooper Kapanke, 1b, 3-0-0-0, Jack Fentress, rf, 4-1-2-1. Joe Feck, c, 3-0-2-1, Jaxon Vance, lf, 2-0-1-0, Mason Bauer, lf, 3-0-0-0,. Totals 26-3-10-3.
Altoona 100 000 0 — 1 3 2
Pizza Hut 011 001 x — 3 10 0
E — Schwab, Keyeskie. LOB — Altoona 5, Pizza Hut 12. DP – Altoona, Pizza Hut. 2B – Feck. HR – Nelson.. SB – Loegering, Vance, L. Rasmussen, Hesselman, Kjellberg.
IP H R ER BB SO
Jake Schwab, L 5 8 2 2 3 0
Wyatt Keyeskie 1 2 1 1 1 1
Austin Goetsch, W 7 3 1 1 1 8
WP – Schwab. PB – Feck. HBP – Rasmussen (by Schwab 2, by Keyeskie). U – Rick Baier, Denny Whiteside. T – 1:55.