The O’Neill Pinnacle Bank Irish Juniors are off to a great start to the 2016 baseball season. The Irish Juniors are 7-0 heading into Tuesday nights double-header against Plainview. The Irish Juniors are coming off a season in which they were the Area 5 runner-up and had a 21-8 record last year. Returning from last year’s team are six veterans in Wyatt Liewer, Alex Thramer, Justin Appleby, Shayne Campbell, Nick Haburchak, and Esteban DeLao. Joining these six are nine newcomers fresh off a Quad County League Championship in Pony League last year: Francisco Perez, Cole Gaughenbaugh, Pete Blumenstock, Blake Krysl, Eddie Rodriguez, Tye Hilker, Jacob Wiese, Michael Long, and Grady Semin. The Irish Juniors are coached this year by Greg Appleby, Mark Thompson, Clint Hilker, Derek Blumenstock, and Brad Blumenstock. Below is a short recap of the Irish season so far.
No-Hitter to Open Season
The O'Neill Pinnacle Bank Irish Juniors opened their season on Friday, May 27th with a 14-1 win over Randolph at Fred Appleby Field. Cole Gaughenbaugh and Blake Krysl made an impressive debut as Irish Juniors as they combined on a 5-inning no-hitter. Gaughenbaugh threw the first 3 innings with Krysl closing out the last 2. Irish veterans Justin Appleby, Wyatt Liewer, Alex Thramer, and Shayne Campbell sparked the Irish offense as the four scored nine runs and combined for six of the eight Irish hits on the night. Gaughenbaugh and Esteban DeLaO had the other hits for the Irish.
Irish Juniors Win Memorial Day Tournament
The O'Neill Pinnacle Bank Irish Juniors won their own Memorial Day Tournament with wins over Valentine 4-0 and over Creighton 14-1 at "The Fred". Great pitching, team play, base running and defense were keys to both wins. In the win over Valentine Justin Appleby got the win on the mound going four strong innings before giving way to Pete Blumenstock who threw the last two. Appleby gave up no hits and no runs while striking out seven Valentine hitters.. The Irish got their four runs with two in the 1st on runs by Wyatt Liewer and Alex Thramer. Shayne Campbell and Eddie Rodriguez scored the other runs for the Irish. Leading hitters were Appleby, Liewer, Campbell and Blumenstock. In the second game of the tournament the Irish pounded out a 14-1 win over a good Creighton team. Creighton sent outstanding young pitcher Bryce Zimmerer to the mound, but the Irish chased him from the game in the 2nd inning with some small ball of bunting, fake bunting, and some aggressive base running. The Irish plated two in the first inning and another seven in the 2nd inning to break the game open. Wyatt Liewer was good on the mound as he went three inning giving up one run on no hits. Cole Gaughenbaugh led the offense going 2-3 with contributing hits also from Wyatt Liewer and Eddie Rodriguez. The 2-3-4-5 batters in the lineup scored ten runs in Liewer, Thramer, Campbell, and Blumenstock.
Irish Down Hartington on Road
The Irish made their first road trip of the year on May 31st and downed Hartington 11-1. Esteban DeLaO was a stud on the mound as he threw five innings giving up only one run and one hit. Jacob Long came on and pitched the final inning of relief giving up one hit and no runs. The Irish offense was paced by hot-hitting Shayne Campbell who is on fire to start the season with 2 hits and Pete Blumenstock also lining out two hits. Jacob Long went 1-1. The Irish defense was solid with only one error. The infield of Alex Thramer at first, Blake Krysl and Cole Gaughenbaugh at second, and the left side defense of Appleby, Liewer, and Blumenstock has been solid early in the season.
Irish Win Slugfest Over PWG
In a slugfest at Fred Appleby Field last Wednesday the Irish Juniors pounded out a 10-7 win over PWG (Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley). PWG jumped all over the Irish early as they pounded out 6 runs over the first 3 innings, but Blake Krysl came on in relief and did a great job of putting out the fires as he threw six inning of relief to come away with the win on the mound. Krysl really finished game strong before Eddie Rodriguez came in and got the final two outs and the save. Shayne Campbell led the sticks going 3-4 while Francisco Perez went 2-4. Others with big hits for the Irish were Appleby, Liewer, Blumenstock, Wiese, and Tye Hilker.
Irish Juniors Dominate Neligh
Last Friday night, the Pinnacle Bank Juniors dominated Neligh 10-2. Cole Gaughenbaugh threw a great game to go to 2-0 on the season with four good innings of pitching. Gaughenbaugh gave up just two runs on one hit. Jacob Wiese threw a quality final innng to finish up the win for the Irish. The Irish offense was paced by Justin Appleby with a 3-4 effort, while Alex Thramer and Shayne Campbell went off for two hits each. Other with hits were Blumenstock, Perez, and Krysl.
Irish Hammer Ord
Monday night the Irish handled Ord 9-1 to move to 7-0 on the young season. Justin Appleby got the start on the bump and dominated from the first pitch going the distance on just 75 pitches. Appleby gave up 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 7. O’Neill’s defense was really good with only one error with the infield defense of Thramer, Gaughenbaugh, Liewer, and Blumenstock. The Irish offense was again paced by the red-hot hitting of Shayne Campbell who went 3-3 with 4 RBI’s. Others with hits for the Irish were Appleby, Liewer, Thramer, Jacob Long, and Esteban DeLaO.
“We are excited about having a great season this year. We have a great group of guys who are talented, baseball smart, driven, and easy to coach. We have a good group of pitchers with some quality top-line starters and another bunch of guys that can contribute out of the bullpen and get people out with a quality defense behind them in the infield and outfield. We also have some good team speed and aggressiveness and the bats are coming around with some good practice and coaching from hitting coach Derek Blumenstock. We hope to get better throughout the month of June in preparation for Area and State play in July. Come out to Fred Appleby Field and check out the young men as they represent O’Neill and American Legion Simonson Post 93 very well. This is a class bunch of young men that O’Neill and the surrounding area should be proud of. We hope to get Grady Semin and Nick Haburchak off the disabled list in the next week or so and that will really solidify the team behind the plate with Nick and with a quality left-handed hitter in Grady. ”