Splitsville: Rapp twirls gem, Jeffers hits HR in Trojans’ win

BLAIRSBURG – Gabe Rapp knows his off-speed pitches leave something – OK, perhaps a lot – to be desired, which is why the Northeast Hamilton senior southpaw doesn’t waste much of his time trying to throw them.

He’s a fastball pitcher – from the opening pitch right up until he gets the hook or records the final out.

And that was more than good enough yesterday afternoon.

The first seven pitches thrown were strikes and it was a sign of things to come, as Rapp mowed down CAL in a complete-game, four-hit shutout. Northeast Hamilton (6-11, 6-7 ISC) got its offense in gear by the third inning and eventually rolled to a 6-0 blanking in Game 1 of an Iowa Star Conference doubleheader.

CAL rebounded to claim the nightcap, 9-7. The game ended in the sixth inning due to darkness.

Rapp went 105 pitches on the bump, but still looked fresh as he sat the Cadets down in the seventh to seal the shutout.

“I was just shooting strikes and that’s all I needed to do,” Rapp said. “(The fastball) is pretty much my main pitch. I work on a curve, but I don’t really throw it a lot.”

Rapp fanned 11 CAL batters. The first seven recorded outs were on strikes and he reached double digits by the fifth inning.

The Cadets (5-11, 5-8 ISC) dribbled out singles in the first, third and seventh innings. They left four runners stranded in scoring position.

NEH didn’t have much luck against CAL starting pitcher Austin Guerrero until the third inning. Guerrero whiffed five batters before he hung a curveball to No. 8 hitter Nick Jeffers, and the Trojan junior turned on it and sent it out of the yard over the left-field fence for his and the team’s first home run of the season.

“Once we got the home run then I was pretty comfortable,” Rapp said. “We had to get our timing down (at the plate) and then we just had to make sure our fundamentals were down.”

NEH touched Guerrero for five hits and five runs in the fifth frame to put the game out of reach. Tyler Smith and Hunter Dilley singled early on and Truman Chamness delivered a two-out, two-RBI single up the gut. Logan Seiser followed with a single and Chamness eventually scored on a double to right-center by Rapp.

Jeffers joined Chamness with two RBIs. Seven NEH players notched one hit.

Game 2: CAL 9, NEH 7

Ten walks issued by NEH pitchers made life quite easy on CAL during the nightcap of the ISC doubleheader.

Jeffers got the start on the bump and walked four of the five batters he faced, and relievers Garrett Grady, Austin Smith and Rapp combined to walk six more in the two-run loss that ended after the Trojans batted in the top of the sixth inning.

NEH head coach Chace Pruismann elected not to use senior hurler Logan Seiser due to the Trojans long week that includes a home make-up game against Clarksville today at 5 p.m.

Seiser went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and RBI in the loss. Rapp had two hits and two RBIs; Chamness added a pair of base knocks.