North Tama drops four in June

Senior Caleb McKiernan stretches to catch a pass from Gabe Kopriva early on in the first quarter against West Burlington. Darvin Graham/North Tama Telegraph

The North Tama baseball team cooled off this past week after a hot start, winning their first six games. The Redhawks dropped four of their five most recent games, however three of the losses were within two or fewer runs. Last Wednesday North Tama hosted Colo-NESCO in what became a one-run pitching dual between Redhawks ace Gabe Kopriva and Royals sophomore Spencer Hansen. The lone run of the game came against Kopriva in the fourth inning. Otherwise, the junior pitched a gem, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out 10. Hansen similarly silenced the Redhawks bats, striking out 12 with only two walks and three hits allowed. Kopriva, senior Javen Ayala and freshman Ryan Hosek were the only Redhawks to record a hit. The Royals went on to a 1-0 victory. Last Saturday, North Tama hosted a home tournament where they finished 1-1 against solid competition. North Tama went 1-1 with an 8-6 victory over Iowa Valley and a 12-2 loss to Class 1A No. 8 North Linn. In game one, the Redhawks were down 5-1 after two innings but scored twice in the fourth to get back in the game. After Iowa Valley scored a run to get up 6-3, North Tama took control by scoring five times in the fifth. Ayala got the win for North Tama, going the distance with 14 strikeouts, four hits, two walks and five earned runs given up. Kopriva and Aaron Snider led the way at the plate, each tallying three runs, while Ayala had the team’s only extra base hit with a double. In the second game against North Linn, the Redhawks were up against it early. Despite scoring a run in the top of the second they exited the inning trailing 3-1. The Lynx scored in each of six innings, tallying 12 runs on 11 hits and getting on base nine times via walks. North Tama starter Tyler Popelka got the loss with sophomore Michael Schrier coming on in relief in the fourth inning. Snider, Kopriva and Austin Unker had the team’s only hits in the game, all singles. In their third and final meeting of the regular season, GMG enacted some revenge against the Redhawks, coming from behind to pull out a 4-2 win in extra innings Monday in Traer. After a scoreless first two innings, North Tama got on the board first and held a 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning. The Wolverines jumped ahead in the sixth, scoring two runs. North Tama responded with one run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score, but GMG had the last word as they scored two more runs in the eighth inning and went on for the win. Kopriva was back on the mound for North Tama and threw for 11 strikeouts. The Wolverines got to him just enough however as they managed six hits and two earned runs across seven innings. McKinley finished out the final inning, allowing two earned runs while walking two. Schrier and Kopriva led at the plate with two hits apiece and McKinley went for a one-run home run in his only hit of the night. Senior Zach Krull got the win for the Wolverines with 10 strikeouts and one walk through eight innings. On Tuesday the Redhawks traveled to Sigourney where they took on a one-loss Sigourney team. North Tama got started early with two runs in the first inning, leading the game through the first two and half innings. Sigourney woke up in the third, scoring three runs to take the lead. Three more runs came for Sigourney in the fifth inning and six in the sixth inning. North Tama managed one more run in the fifth but weren’t able to keep pace, taking the 12-3 loss. North Tama wraps up the week with a rematch against Baxter on the road Friday and a non-conference matchup against Lynnville-Sully on the road Saturday morning. The Redhawks next home game is set for Wednesday, June 16 against Riceville.