Hawks trounce Lions
KIRKLAND – Hiawatha senior Tyler Burger’s elbow started feeling sore early in the season. The catcher and pitcher had tendinitis that lingered throughout the Hawks’ 1-4 start to the season.
Spring break came at a perfect time for Burger and the rest of the Hawks, who beat LaMoille, 14-0, in five innings Tuesday.
Coach Sean Donnelly gave the Hawks last week off, and Burger and his team were fresh for the Hawks’ (3-4, 2-0 Little Ten Conference) two straight wins against the Lions (0-6, 0-2 LTC).
“We had some dead arms. Their arms were sore, they were tired,” Donnelly said. “[Over spring break] we had no games to worry about, and we came back fresh.”
Burger said he felt perfectly fine. His performance reflected that claim.
The junior pitched five innings, struck out eight and allowed only one hit. He also drove in four runs.
“I felt great,” Burger said. “We’re all hitting and our infield and outfield are stopping everything. I’m confident.”
The scoring started in the first inning, when sophomore Mike Mercado drove in a run after Ed Canchola scored on an error. Senior Jake Simmons also drove in two runs in the inning.
The Hawks scored six more runs in the second inning and five over the next two innings to end the game by virtue of the mercy rule.
The win, along with Monday’s 27-14 rout, may have turned the tide in Hiawatha’s season after a rough start.
“Our pitchers had some trouble finding the zones early, but we’ve settled down, and our defense was a little shaky, but we’re tuning that up,” Simmons said. “Everybody’s coming to practice ready to work.”
The Hawks lost several seniors from last season’s team, but expected to improve on 2011’s 13-13 finish.
The young team lost four of its first five games, but Donnelly has been impressed by his young team’s attitude.
“They never were down on themselves going into things,” Donnelly said.
“They weren’t beating themselves up over things that had happened in practice the day before, and the game before. They have a very short memory and they’re very confident in themselves and each other,” Donnelly continued.
Even during their struggles, the Hawks felt better things were on the horizon.
“We’ve got all of the tools that we need,” Simmons said. “We can throw, we can pitch, we have good defense. If the hitting stays how it’s been, we should do just fine.”
The going will get tougher when the Hawks play Belvidere on Thursday. For a team that only had one win heading into this week, Donnelly thinks the two wins and 41 runs against LaMoille were a huge boon.
“To start 2-0 in conference is always going to be a big boost,” Donnelly said. “Our kids came out and played a good game and walked away happy, confident going into our game Thursday.”
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