Four routs, one loss for MHS

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

Monticello scored dominant high school baseball victories in four of the five games it played last week, sandwiching a one-run, hard-luck loss. 


In the four wins, the Panthers outscored their opponents by a combined 54-10. Those included a home sweep of North Cedar June 3, by scores of 13-3 and 11-1; an 18-5 win at Tipton June 6, and a 12-1 romp at Easton Valley June 7. 


The loss came at home against West Branch, 9-8 on June 4. Monticello came out of the week 3-3 in the River Valley Conference, 4-5 overall. 


Monticello jumped out to a quick lead in the first North Cedar game, scoring two runs in the first inning and four in both the second and third, to lead 10-0. 


“We wanted to attack early so we could keep being aggressive at the plate and on the bases,” Monticello coach Kolby Harms said. “It makes it easier for our pitchers as well.” 


The only thing that prevented the 10-run rule was a three-run top of the fifth for North Cedar. Monticello did close it out with two runs in the bottom of the sixth for the 13-3 win. 


The Panthers had 11 hits. Caleb Gillmore was 3-for-3. Getting two hits each were Tyler Luensman, Jon Mootz and Justin Recker; Mootz and Recker each had a double. 


Starting pitcher Dylan Roher worked four innings to get the win, allowing just one hit and striking out six. Hunter Kramer and Jeff Carlson pitched in relief. 


In the second game, Monticello gained control with a five-run fourth inning, turning a 3-1 edge into an 8-1 game. The Panthers then scored three in the bottom of the sixth to invoke the 10-run rule once again. 


It was a big game for Avery Martensen, who pitched five innings for the win, allowing three hits and striking out seven; and going 2-for-4 with a triple at the plate. Carlson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Caleb Sauser went 2-for- 4. Tyler Luensman had three stolen bases. Justin Recker pitched a hitless inning in relief. 


Roher and Martensen picked up their first varsity wins in the doubleheader. 


The loss to West Branch June 4 at Dailey Field was a heartbreaker for the Panthers. Trailing 9-3 after three innings, Monticello scored five in the bottom of the fourth to pull to within one run. 


The Panthers couldn’t quite get the equalizer, though they came within inches of tying it in the bottom of the seventh. With the tying run on third and two out, a sharp line drive hit by Mootz was snared by the West Branch second baseman to end the game. 


“Jon hit it hard; it was just right at a guy and he made a really good play,” Harms said. 


Gavin Cooper had a big night at the plate, going 3-for- 4 with a triple and four RBIs. Mootz was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Tyler Luensman and Sauser both went 2-for-4. 


“Jon Mootz and Gavin Cooper hit the ball hard all game and drove in some big runs for us,” Harms said. “We had some young kids step up, too.” 


Starting pitcher Tyler Blattner took the loss. Carlson pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, and Recker pitched the seventh. 


“I’m proud of the way Jeff went out and competed,” the coach said. “He kept them hitless and scoreless to give us a chance to come back. Our effort was awesome, and the kids are competing hard.” 


Monticello traveled to Tipton June 6 for an 18-5, five-inning win. The Panthers scored nine runs in the top of the first inning to gain early control, and finished with 15 hits in that one, as Mootz and Recker had three hits apiece. Gavin Cooper went 2-for-5 with a double and five RBIs. Sauser drove in three runs. 

Roher pitched all five innings for the win. 


The Panthers then played a non-conference game at Easton Valley June 7, and won 12-1 in five innings. Again a strong start was a key factor; Monticello totaled 10 runs in the fist three innings. Mootz went 3-for-3, and Gavin Cooper. He and Sauser had three RBIs apiece. 

Carlson pitched 4 1/3 innings to get the win, and Tyler Blattner recorded the final two outs.


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