Trojans pick up last regular season win


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A cool Tuesday night at Trojan Field was the setting for the Iowa City West's last regular-season game of the year, and the Trojans beat the Bettendorf Bulldogs, 5-4, in a contest featuring four Trojan pitchers allowing a mere 2 hits.

Senior Kellen Yoder started the game on the mound for the Trojans, and after one inning of work — in which he punched out two Bulldogs — West's coaching staff decided to preserve the arm of their workhorse and take him out.

"We're just getting ready for substate. All our guys had a plan; we just want to make sure they're sharp enough yet rested enough to be good on Friday," assistant coach Tom Cronk said.

Senior Nick Grimsman took over on the mound after Yoder. Grimsman's breaking ball was moving all over the zone and was a huge factor in determining the outcome of the game.

"The control was all right. I was in and out of the strike zone, but getting them to swing at pitches in the dirt, that's what was big," the senior right-hander said after throwing his last regular-season home game as a Trojan.

Grimsman said the atmosphere surrounding his home finale gave him a little extra motivation.
Grimsman didn't allow a hit during his four innings on the mound. His arsenal was on full display, consistently leaving Bulldog batters guessing and reaching on pitches out of the zone.

The Trojan lineup kept the Bulldogs on their toes from the top to the bottom of the order. The scoring started early on, with senior pinch-runner Tom Harder scoring on a single to right field by first baseman Declan Doyle.

The Trojans threatened in the second, but their next runs came on a 330-foot moonshot by sophomore Devin Raffensperger in the third. Raffensperger knew it was going over the fence immediately after making contact — and the entire crowd had no doubt about it, either.

"Yeah, I knew it was gone," Raffensperger said, "I'm not sure about it being a career-long or anything, but I definitely felt it hit the sweet spot."

Raffensperger provided another RBI on a single in the fifth and ended his day going 2-for-3, with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored. His only out on the evening was a sharp liner that Bettendorf sophomore third baseman Cole Clearman nabbed with a sensational diving catch, robbing him of another RBI.

The majority of the damage against the Trojans came on another mammoth home run, this one off the bat of Bulldog's junior first baseman Matt Ulrich. After giving up the bomb, sophomore Tyus Adkins buckled down and finished, helped out on a nice catch by junior left fielder Ezra Reimers.

Senior Luke Crimmins came in as pitcher for the seventh inning and was untouchable, throwing well into the 80s on his fastball but choosing to finish two victims with a nasty breaking ball.

Despite his team's overall performance against a well-coached team in Bettendorf, Cronk was not without a plan for the upcoming stretch of games for his squad.

"We have a goal. The bottom line is if we're going to be sharp on Friday [for substate], it's because we're sharp today," Cronk said. "We've got another game tomorrow, and we've got to make sure that we're a little sharper."

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