Centerville -- A conference series for Indian Hills that spanned four days turned into an IHCC sweep, but not until the final at-bat of the fourth game. That's when the Falcons' Soren Graversen sent a drive off the right-field foul pole with the bases-loaded to cap a final-inning comeback and lift Indian Hills to a 7-3 victory under the lights at Pat Daugherty Field Monday evening.
The series also featured superb pitching performances for IHCC in games one and three and a hard-fought victory in the second game.
Action began in Creston on Friday with the Falcons earning 3-0 and 11-9 wins. After two days of postponements, the decision was made to play two games in Centerville Monday and, after a 2-0 blanking in the opener, Graversen's bomb finished off the 7-3 decision that leaves the Falcons' season record at 23-21 and conference mark at 13-7.
The Falcons trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the 7th in game four. Nathan Chasey doubled home a run to make it 3-2 and IHCC tied the score on a Jeb Weber RBI. Graversen then ended the twinbill with his 6th homer of the spring.
Wyatt Wendell and Jordan Bahnuk teamed up to shut out the Spartans in Friday's first game. Wendell went the first six innings, permitting just three hits and striking out six. Bahnuk fanned two in his perfect inning of relief. Jay Hester had a single, double and triple and scored a run and Alex Fisher had two hits. "Wyatt did a great job of giving us a quality start," said IHCC coach Matthew Torrez. "He got better as the game went along. It was good to see some guys have quality at-bats, including Hester."
Indian Hills led the second game, 11-4, thanks to a five-run 2nd inning, before SWCC made things exciting with five runs of their own in the bottom of the 7th. Simon Restad came out of the bullpen and got a strikeout to save the win for Indian Hills. He was the 6th pitcher used, following Zacharie Allard, Nick Marshall, Malik Abdul, Connor Robbins, and Bahnuk. Abdul was especially effective, throwing 2 2/3 perfect innings with five Ks. "The top of our lineup did a good job of getting the bats going for us," Torrez noted, "and we never looked back. It's a good recipe for success when you score in five of seven innings. And we got some guys to compete on the mound." Hester had a pair of doubles, two runs scored and an RBI, Weber was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and four RBIs and Garrett Takamatsu doubled, homered -- his team-leading 10th -- and knocked in three runs. Those are the top three batters in the order. Jameson Hart and Chasey each scored two runs.
It was Luis Rivera who turned in the solid start in Monday's first game, a route-going three-hitter with eight punchouts. "Luis did a good job settling in," said his coach. "He gave us a quality start and wanted the ball to finish the deal. That was good for us. Our offense and defense did enough for us to win." Graversen doubled home Weber for a run in the 1st and Chasey brought in an insurance run with a sacrifice fly. Of IHCC's five hits, Ryo Yamaguchi had two.
Omar Vigil did a great job of keeping the score close after Southwestern scored three unearned runs in the 3rd inning of the final game. Vigil threw 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball with a walk and four strikeouts. Juan Silva drove in an early run with a two-out single in the 1st. The Falcons were held scoreless after that until the big 7th inning that ended with the Graversen home run. "Daniel Hargrave gave us a solid start," Torrez explained. "Our defense had some miscues that we had to climb back from. We had our best ABs in the bottom of the 7th. The guys battled and, overall, I was proud of our effort." Silva and Dave Janssen had two-hit games and Graversen's slam gives him 30 RBIs, second on the team behind Takamatsu.
Indian Hills will host Iowa Western this weekend in a four-game series at Pat Daugherty Field. Saturday is Meet the Falcons with lots of activities on the Centerville campus in addition to a baseball doubleheader starting at 1:00.