A nine-game winning streak has the Spencer Rockets baseball team eyeing a division title
(Editor’s note: Statistics and records in this article are prior to Spencer’s games against Owen-Withee on Thursday.)
By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — The Spencer baseball team hits the home stretch of its season on an impressive roll.
The Rockets, heading into Thursday’s games against Owen-Withee, had won nine games in a row, outscoring their opponents 101-22.
The combination of superior pitching and timely hitting has Spencer contending for a Cloverbelt Conference East Division title and a high seed in the upcoming WIAA Division 3 playoffs.
Since an 11-1 loss to Neillsville on April 27, the Rockets have pitched four shutouts and scored in double figures six times in nine games, all resulting in victories. On Thursday Spencer completed a suspended game from April 24, in which the score was tied 7-7 after nine innings, and played a regularly-scheduled game at Owen-Withee.
The Rockets play their next five games at home, including Friday against Loyal, Monday versus Gilman, and a rematch with first-place and undefeated Neillsville on Tuesday. Spencer came into Thursday’s games with a 13-2 overall record and a 9-1 mark in the Cloverbelt East. Neillsville was 14-0 and 12-0 in the conference.
“Good pitching has really helped us (in the win streak),” Spencer coach Justin Rayburn said. “Sometimes we get the bats going. Sometimes we don’t. It’s been hit or miss, but we always get good pitching. That’s been the key to our success lately.”
Junior Bobby Pilz is a perfect 4-0 with an astounding 0.95 ERA in five starts. He has 32 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Calvin Lenz is 3-1, left-hander Nate Neumann is 3-0, and Mitch Susa is 2-1 in relief.
On the offensive side, the Rockets are batting a combined .390, and while only 25 of the team’s 162 hits are for extra bases, they have averaged 10.5 runs per game.
Susa leads the way, hitting .587 (27 of 46) with a team-high 22 RBIs, four doubles, and two home runs. Pilz is hitting .514 (19 of 37) with 24 stolen bases and a team-best 31 runs scored.
Jake Meyers, Jonny Tomke, Lenz, Neumann, and Hunter Luepke are also hitting over .325 and have double-digits in the RBI department.
Rayburn said the Rockets will need to turn it up another notch as they face the top teams in the conference and head toward the playoffs.
“We need to see really good pitchers, and we’re going to see that coming up,” Rayburn said. “We’re going to start seeing some really good pitchers coming up. We have to get the bats on the ball against teams like that. Our pitching is always going to be good. It’s a matter of putting the ball in play and getting some runs in.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.