Centerville -- A six-run rally in the 7th inning allowed Indian Hills to come from behind and win a weekend series with Southwestern CC and remain in contention for a possible Region XI regular-season championship. The late rally resulted in an 8-6 win over the Spartans and gave IHCC a split in Sunday's pair of games in Creston. Southwestern took the opener 8-2. The series began with a twinbill at Pat Daugherty Field Saturday with the Falcons making quick work of SWCC, winning 16-3 and 14-4, both games lasting five innings.
Indian Hills emerges from the weekend with an 8-4 league record, three games behind conference leader Iowa Western, whom the Falcons will host for four games this coming Saturday and Sunday. It also puts the season record at 25-11, surpassing last year's win total of 23.
The series finale had IHCC down 6-2 going into the final inning. The comeback featured key hits by Jacob Rhinesmith and Will Zimmerman. Rhinesmith had a single, double and his 6th home run while driving in three runs in the contest. Zimmerman singled and doubled twice. Ryan Humeniuk had a couple of hits and Luis Gimenez scored twice. Starter Zachary Lauzon was knocked out in the 4th inning. He fanned six in his 3 1/3 inning stint but allowed eight hits and six runs, four earned. Indian Hills got standout relief pitching from Ray Nolan, who contributed 1 2/3 hitless innings, and Zachary Fascia. Fascia got the win thanks to the late-game heroics, allowing one hit and one walk in his two shutout innings.
The IHCC offense exploded for 30 runs in just nine at-bats in Saturday's games. The Falcons poured across nine runs in the 1st inning of game one and added five more in the 3rd. Humeniuk went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs and Dillon Nelson was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Nelson launched his team-leading 7th homer of the season. The top five hitters in the lineup all scored at least two runs. Gimenez, Rhinesmith, and Fascia each had two hits and Fascia and Colin Potrzeba produced two RBIs apiece. Jacob Thiessen stayed unbeaten on the spring, running his record to 7-0 with a five-inning, complete-game. He permitted eight hits and three runs with four Ks while not walking anyone.
Oracio DeLeon had the five-inning, route-going effort in the second game with one walk, one strikeout, and five hits and four runs allowed. Zimmerman led the offense with a 3-for-3 performance, three runs and three RBIs. Rhinesmith had a single and triple and scored three times. The Falcons scored in all four innings in which they batted.
After the 30 runs on Saturday, the IHCC offense was held in check in the first game Sunday, scratching out only two runs and seven hits. Nelson had two of the hits and the lone RBI. Potrzeba and Joshmar Doran scored the runs. Jared Spearing went 4 2/3 innings as the starter and took the loss. Hunter Capps and Rodny Valdes worked in relief.
The Falcons have gotten to the 25-win mark, in just 36 games, with a potent offense. They have scored 310 runs, an average of 8.6 per game, and have three regulars hitting over .400. Gimenez is batting a robust .474, Rhinesmith is at .440 and Nelson at .415. All three of those players, and a number of their teammates, are contributing to the strong offensive numbers. Rhinesmith and Nelson are tied for the team lead with 44 RBIs and Gimenez has 39.
Before this weekend's big series with Iowa Western, Indian Hills will go to Iowa Central on Tuesday and host Ellsworth on Wednesday.