Pitcher’s Duel: Seiser in command on mound in Trojans’ win over Redhawks

BLAIRSBURG – The quick and subtle hop that Logan Seiser took off the mound after each inning yesterday evening non-verbally told everyone in attendance just how he was feeling.

Seiser was in a zone.

With command of his fastball and off-speed pitches, the Northeast Hamilton senior stayed ahead in the count – he jumped on the batters with first-strike pitches most of the night – and befuddled North Tama in an Iowa Star Conference baseball contest.

Seiser went six dominant innings in which he allowed just two infield singles, and Gabe Rapp took over in the seventh and worked the Trojans out of a jam in a 2-1 win over the Redhawks.

Seiser threw 92 pitches and fanned eight batters against just two walks; North Tama’s lone run was unearned. He had stretches in which he retired five and seven straight batters, and he struck out the side in the third and fifth innings.

“I felt pretty comfortable out on the mound,” Seiser said. “I was thinking about it a little too much in the seventh inning, but I felt good out there.

“First pitch strikes are key, especially against good hitters like they always have. It boosts your confidence when you do that.”

About the only thing that bugged Seiser was when the music continued to blare over the loudspeaker early in the seventh inning. Noticeably rattled, he walked the opening batter and then plunked the second to put the tying and go-ahead runs aboard.

Rapp stepped out from behind the plate and rescued the Trojans. North Tama ‘s Ben Panfil sacrifice bunted the runners over, but Logan Zoebel made the second out when he fouled off a two-strike bunt.

Tristan Johaningmeier hit a bouncer back to Rapp to end the game. North Tama failed to hit the ball out of the infield in the contest.

“I can’t explain how happy I am to get this win,” NEH head coach Chace Pruismann said. “We had a long talk with the team (Tuesday) night and explained that we wanted to have these seniors go out as winners.

“Logan had an outstanding showing. I told him last Friday he was going to pitch and he told me ‘I’ve got this.'”

NEH (2-2, 2-1 ISC) jumped ahead to stay in the second inning thanks to a marathon at bat by No. 8 hitter Austin Smith. Down in the count 1-2 and with runners at first and third, Smith fouled off five pitches to stay alive and during that time Redhawks’ pitcher Brandon Kaufman was called for a balk that brought Rapp home from third.

Smith went the other way with a Kaufman fastball on the 11th pitch of the at bat and the line shot landed just inside the chalk down the right-field line and rolled all the way to the fence. The stand-up double allowed Truman Chamness to score easily from second.

“Austin is always a heck of a go-getter and he knows the game of baseball inside and out,” Pruismann said. “He knew how important that at bat was and he did an excellent job.”

Smith also made a big play with his glove in a still scoreless game in the top of the second. North Tama had runners at first and third with one out when Ben Panfil turned on a Seiser pitch and hit a rocket that looked on its way to the grass. But Smith, the Trojans’ shortstop, timed his jump perfect and made the catch, then quickly whipped to first for the double play to end the threat.

Kaufman was more than up to the challenge presented by Seiser. The North Tama right-hander gave up just three hits and one walk. He whiffed six.

Rapp led off the second with a base hit to right-center. The Trojans’ only other hit was a third-inning double to left off the bat of Nick Jeffers.

NEH will look for its third consecutive win on Friday when it hosts Tripoli at 5 p.m.