Christensen pitches Indians to shutout win in season opener
An afternoon downpour delayed Spirit Lake's baseball season opener, but once the skies cleared, the Indians faithful were treated to a show. Nick Christiansen pitched a complete-game, one-hit shutout and teammates Jac Radcliffe and Houston Hawkins both went yard to lead Spirit Lake to a 7-0 home win over West Lyon on Monday.
Christensen and the Spirit Lake defense allowed just two runners aboard, as the Wildcats connected on a single in the top of the third inning and drew a walk in the top of the fourth.
Spirit Lake struck first in the bottom of the second inning, as Jac Radcliffe connected on a leadoff single up the middle and Gavin Kramer bunted for a single down the first base line to put two aboard. After a flyable out, Zach Deitering smashed a line drive single into centerfield to score Radcliffe and put the Indians up 1-0 after two.
The following inning, Christensen connected on a one-out single before Hawkins smacked a home run over the left field fence to score two and put his squad up 3-0. After a ground ball out, Radcliffe followed Hawkins' lead, as the senior sent another ball sailing over the left field fence to put his team up 4-0.
Both long balls were meaningful beyond the score. It was the first home run of Radcliffe's career. Hawkins' home run was his 100th career hit.
Spirit Lake's final three runs came in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Jennings drew a leadoff walk and Kyler Olsen drew a one-out walk to put runners on the corners.
Olsen then stole second and Jennings scored on an error by the second baseman. Ben Newman drew a walk. Olsen advanced to third on a wild, but Newman was caught stealing second before Christensen singled up the right side of the infield to score Olsen. Hawkins followed with a single of his own to put two on for Dillon Reynolds, two doubled to left, scoring courtesy runner Kolby Richter for the Indians' final run.
Christensen struck out four batters in seven innings of work, and was 2-4 at the dish with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base.
Hawkins was 2-3 with a homer, two RBIs and a run scored. Radcliffe was 2-3 with a homer, an RBI, a steal and two runs scored. Reynolds was 1-3 with a double and an RBI. Kramer was 1-3 with a steal. Deitering was 1-2 with an RBI. Olsen scored a run and stole a base. Richter scored a run for the Indians, who start the season 1-0.