RSM baseball slugs two home runs, shuts out South Winneshiek in quarterfinals
CARROLL — Led by home runs from Jaxon Bunkers and Collin Homan along with a combined shutout on the mound, the Remsen St. Mary’s baseball team won 6-0 over South Winneshiek in a Class 1A state quarterfinal game on Monday at Merchants Park.
The top seed in the tournament got on the board quickly with hits from the first two in the batting order. Carter Schorg led off the RSM lineup with a triple over the center fielder’s head.
“When I saw my pitch, I swung and it went over his head and I got the triple,” Schorg said.
The very next batter, Jaxon Bunkers, knocked him home with an RBI single.
“We just needed two big guys to show up to play and I think that really got us going right away,” Bunkers said.
South Winneshiek starting pitcher Keagen Streeter settled in to strike out the next two batters, part of his seven strikeouts in four innings of work, and held the Hawks scoreless in the second inning. RSM was able to get back on the board in the third, again relying on their top two batters in the order. Schorg reached on a walk before Bunkers sent a home run over the left field fence to make it a 3-0 game.
“I was just protecting with two strikes and put a ball in the air, the wind’s blowing out helping me out, that helps a lot,” Bunkers said.
It was the second home run of the season for Bunkers.
The next inning, the Hawks got another long ball. Homan sent a moon shot to right field which landed on the little league field beyond the outfield fence of Merchants Park.
“My coach told me to take a couple pitches and see my pitch and told me to crush it and I did,” Homan said.
It was the fourth home run of the season for Homan, who was the hero of the team’s district final win over Gehlen Catholic with a walk-off home run in extra innings.
“We’ve seen this story before,” Harpenau said of Homan’s home run. “As a freshman, he’s really got a nice swing.”
RSM added their final two runs in the fifth against Jordan Buchheit who came on in relief of Streeter in the frame. Hunter Pick hit a double to drive in one of the runs while the other run scored on an error against the lefty.
The RSM pitching staff combined on a one-hit shutout against the weak-hitting Warriors who entered state with a .258 team batting average.
Jamie Kuennen reached on a single with one out in the second for what would be the only hit for the Warriors. Carson Streeter followed with a walk for what was one of the only potential threats against the Hawks in the game. Schorg was able to quash the potential rally with a pair of strikeouts, part of his 10 strikeouts in his 5 2/3 innings on the mound.
“I just knew I had to come in with confidence and throw strikes,” Schorg said. “I could spot my fastball and I could hit the strike zone with my curveball. That makes it really tough for the batter.”
Bunkers finished off the sixth inning on the mound by getting one out. Cael Ortmann completed the shutout by sending down the Warriors in order in the top of the seventh.
South Winneshiek ends the season with a 23-9 record.
Remsen St. Mary’s keeps their perfect season intact as they moved to 34-0 with the win.
The Hawks advance to Wednesday’s semifinal round game against a familiar foe, Kingsley-Pierson. While the Hawks have won the first two meetings this season, Bunkers said they know the Panthers will be gunning for them with a state title game berth on the line.
“We’ve played them since second grade and they’ve gotten us probably 15 of the 20 games all through grade school so it’s going to be a big one for us,” Bunkers said. “We just need to come play our game. We know they’re a great team. We just need to make the bigger plays.”
The two teams met on May 28 in a tournament hosted by RSM which the host school won by a 7-5 score. The two teams also met in the Spalding tournament on June 18, a game which the Hawks won 6-2.
Harpenau said he believes the team that makes the fewest mistakes will be moving on to the championship.
“We know Kingsley’s a good ball club,” Harpenau said. “We’ve played them twice. We know they’re solid. It’s going to come down to making plays, execution. Whoever executes and makes plays and is throwing strikes, it’s just going to come down to who plays the better, cleaner game.”
The semifinal game between the Hawks and Panthers will take place at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday at Merchants Park.