PRAIRIE CITY — The PCM baseball team started slow and could never recover against Nevada during a Heart of Iowa Conference contest on June 4.
The Mustangs fell behind 6-0 after two innings, made a little bit of a comeback in the middle innings but Nevada pulled away with a three-run seventh inning. PCM plated one run in the seventh but lost 10-6.
PCM collected just three hits at the plate and committed five errors in the field. Nevada had six errors and all five runs scored against the Cubs were unearned.
“We have to take care of ourselves. The fielding has got to get better. We are not making outs on plays that other teams are making outs on us,” PCM coach Jeff Lindsay said. “Their guys are just making more plays than we are. We have to do a better job of reacting to the ball coming off the bat.”
The win for Nevada was its fourth straight. The Cubs are now 7-3 overall and 2-3 in the HOIC. PCM fell to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
“We need to have more fun,” Lindsay said. “This isn’t a job. It’s supposed to be fun. They are just putting too much pressure on themselves. It’s a game. Let’s have fun with it.”
Nevada scored one run in the first inning against PCM starter Noah Henkenius, but the run was unearned as Trent Stahl reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Jack Higgins.
The Cubs sent nine batters to the plate in the second. They scored five runs on fives hits and PCM committed one error.
With one out, Nevada’s 7-8-9 hitters had consecutive singles to load the bases. Stahl then drove in a pair with a two-run single.
“Noah does a good job of staying in the counts and keeping us in the games,” Lindsay said. “It was all them hitting the ball and scoring runs. Unfortunately, we kind of helped them out a little bit. Then a few unfortunate calls that didn’t go our way came back to bite us for a couple of runs.”
PCM’s first seven batters were retired in order by Nevada’s James Carsrud. Sophomore Dane Owens and senior Colton Warrick had back-to-back walks with one out to give the Mustangs a threat.
Junior Preston Van Wyk then reached on a fielder’s choice. Henkenius drove in the first run with an RBI single, and then two more crossed the plate after back-to-back Nevada errors.
Nevada got back a run in the fourth inning, but PCM drew within 7-5 after two more runs came across in the fourth.
Junior Olin Meinders reached on an error and then sophomore Derek Brown singled. Warrick reached on a bunt single, and the throw to first soared into the outfield, which allowed Meinders and Brown to score.
Nevada chased Henkenius in the seventh inning. The Cubs added to their lead with a pair of doubles against Henkenius that resulted in another run.
The second double was down the right-field line and appeared hit in foul territory. Lindsay questioned the call, but the umpire stayed with his call of safe on the field.
“This game could have been a little different if a hit goes here or there for us, or a call goes here or there for us,” Lindsay said. “That’s athletics. And we can only control what we can control.”
Henkenius was pulled for junior Reed Worth. Worth walked and hit the only two batters he faced. Junior Brayton Van Dyke got the final out of the seventh inning with a strikeout.
Henkenius allowed seven runs — five earned — on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out three, walked none and hit one. He threw less than 100 pitches.
The first two Mustangs reached on errors in the seventh. Van Dyke drove in Henkenius with an RBI ground out, but another ground out ended the game.
Henkenius, Brown and Warrick had the only three hits in the game. Warrick got on base all three times with a bunt single, a walk and a hit by pitch. Warrick and Brown both scored a run. Six different players scored a run for PCM.
“We are swinging too early in the count,” Lindsay said. “I am OK with that if we are hitting the ball hard, but right now it’s 50/50. We are making it too easy on the pitcher.
“The new pitch count rules force pitchers to throw strikes early and often, and the ball is there to hit. I am glad we are swinging at good pitches. We are just a little off right now with the contact, and we have to get back on track.”
PCM played at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on June 5 and hosted South Hamilton on June 6. The Mustangs host Gladbrook-Reinbeck at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Prairie City.
PCM 3, Saydel 2
PRAIRIE CITY — The PCM and Saydel baseball teams have played at least once every year since 2010.
And before their latest game on May 30, the Mustangs had never walked away with a win.
The long losing streak is officially over. PCM snapped a 13-game losing streak that spanned the past nine seasons following a 3-2 home win during HOIC play.
The Mustangs scored the go-ahead runs on a two-run single by Owens in the fourth, and PCM held off a late rally by Saydel to win a close one.
“It was a good way to bounce back,” Lindsay said. “We didn’t play well against Roland-Story. I thought Saydel was a similar looking team, but we just played better. We made some plays defensively tonight, and that was nice to see in a tight game.”
Henkenius earned the win on the mound, Worth helped him out of a jam in the sixth and Van Dyke closed the door in the seventh for the save.
In the third, Van Wyk and Meinders drew back-to-back walks. After Van Wyk stole third, Brown’s sacrifice bunt went for a single to load the bases.
Worth put the Mustangs in front with an RBI sacrifice fly.
Saydel tied the score with a run off Henkenius in the fourth, but PCM answered with a pair of runs in the fourth. Owens drove in both runs with an RBI hit that took a big hop in the infield.
Henkenius lasted 5 1/3 innings. He was pulled for Worth in the sixth, but Saydel closed the gap to 3-2. Worth limited the damage and then turned it over to Van Dyke, who fanned two hit and didn’t allow a base runner in the seventh.
Henkenius allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out three with two walks and two hit by pitches. Worth tossed 2/3 innings and allowed one walk with one strikeout.
“Noah battled his tail off,” Lindsay said. “Reed kept us in front, and Brayton finished it off. The pitchers were good again tonight.”
The Mustangs out-hit the Eagles 6-3 and won despite committing the only two errors of the game.
“The errors didn’t hurt us tonight, which was good,” Lindsay said. “Brayton made three fantastic plays defensively on balls hit up the middle.”
Henkenius had one hit and walked once at the plate. Van Dyke doubled and scored a run, junior Wes Cummings, Worth and Brown all had singles. Van Wyk and Worth both had steals.
Saydel’s 13-game win streak over PCM included nine wins by four or more runs. The Mustangs lost 3-2 and 4-3 in one of the two meetings in 2014 and 2015, respectively.