The Alta-Aurelia baseball squad opened their season Monday night on the road against a Sergeant Bluff-Luton team which finished second in the state last season, and is rated #3 in this season's Class 3A pre-season rankings.
The two teams put on quite a show on opening night with the host Warriors utilizing a 5th inning home run to edge the Alta-Aurelia Warriors, 3-2.
A-A Coach Dan Wendel said that Christian Weiland pitched a "fantastic" game for the Warriors, having command of all of his pitches and throwing strikes throughout the game.
"I thought we controlled the tempo and played well in all facets," said Coach Wendel, "and it's too bad we couldn't have pulled this one out for Christian. They threw their ace at us, and he kept the bottom half of our lineup off balance all night. We had several innings where we had runners on base but could not get that extra hit to score more runs. We left seven runners stranded, and had chances to move them but didn't get the job done. We need to do a better job in that area, but overall I was extremely happy with how we played our first night out.
"I thought we outplayed them most of the game, but their 3-run home run in the 5th was the difference tonight. We will continue to work to improve the little things that will win baseball games, and I know this group will do what they can to get better."
Weiland went the distance on the mound for Alta-Aurelia, giving up 3 hits, striking out 12, and walking a pair. At the plate, Neil Marshall was 2-4 with 1 RBI; Jalen Henningsen 1-3 with a single; Weiland was 2-3 with an RBI; and Ryan Friedrich was 2-2 with two singles.
The next night, the Warriors opened their home season against another perennial power, Remsen St. Mary's, and A-A had two 5-run innings on their way to an impressive 11-3 win.
Ryan Friedrich picked up the win for the Warriors, going 4 2/3 innings while giving up four hits and three earned runs and striking out five . Christian Weiland came in in the 5th and struck out the only batter he faced, and Jaden Holten pitched the last two innings for the Warriors, striking out three and allowing no hits.
At the plate, A-A had 10 hits. Jalen Henningsen was 2-4 with 2 RBI; Chris Bengtson stroked a double and drove in a run; and Austin Delp, Christian Weiland, Ryan Friedrich and Brody Lichtenberg each had an RBI. Every Warrior player had at least one hit.
Coach Wendel said RSM is a very good team, and he thought Alta-Aurelia we did a good job all night of being patient and getting some timely hits. He said the team's base running was excellent in this game, as the players did a good job of taking the extra base. He was also happy with the team's offensive effort which featured many contributors.
In conclusion, Coach Wendel said, "Things happen when you can string a couple of hits together, and I thought we did a great job of putting pressure on them all night. We feel good about how we have played our first two games and hopefully we keep building on this."
The Warriors host Okoboji at Alta on Friday, and play in a tournament at Moville on Saturday.