By Chris Faulkner
On the night that Coach Chris Chiprez was honored by his alma mater Notre Dame, his players presented him with a 6-2 victory over West Burlington Friday at Winegard Field.
Chiprez was one of seven inducted to the Wall of Fame, where a plaque will recognize their achievements as player, coach or support staff for the Nikes.
Notre Dame (13-3) was playing in its sixth game in five days and will play two more today (Saturday) at the North Scott Tournament in Eldridge.
With that grueling schedule, Coach Chiprez – along with assistant coaches Rod Brent and Daren Orth – continue to do pitching by committee to keep the arms as fresh as possible.
Payne Prottsman gave up two hits and a run in the top of the first to West Burlington. Jace Figuereo singled, stole second, and one out later, Hayden Vandenberg singled him home.
But Prottsman, Isaiah Crow, Jaxon Sadler, and Jeremiah Crow didn't allow a single hit after that.
“Our pitching did a really good job,” Chiprez said.
He also praised Brent and Orth. “They do a great job without pitching in trying to track it and trying to game plan throughout the week,” Chiprez said.
Notre Dame scored its six runs on six hits, taking advantage of seven walks and a Falcon error.
In the bottom of the first, Spencer Brent tied the game at 1-1 when he single, stole second, stole third, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Caden Schwenker.
Eli Oleson doubled, stole third, and scored when the catcher's throw got past the third baseman.
Logan Brent walked with two outs in the third, and his courtesy runner, Jack Drew, scored one batter later on a single by Isaiah Crow.
West Burlington's other run came on two errors by the Nikes in the fifth. Connor Etchison walked, went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on an infield error with Figuereo batting, and then scored on the same play on a wild throw home.
The Nikes padded the lead in the sixth. With one out, Oleson walked, and Hunter Shipley bunted him over to second. Maddox Diewold walked, and Landry Haberichter loaded the bases with an infield hit. Spencer Brent walked to bring in Oleson, and Schwenker hit a base hit that scored two, but Brent was thrown out at home trying to make it a third run.
“It was nice to bounce back and get the victory tonight in front of a nice crowd,” Chiprez said.
Notre Dame had lost its third game of the season and second in a week with a 6-4 loss to Van Buren, leaving the Warriors unbeaten and in first in the South.
Zach Webb took the loss for the Falcons, who fall to 4-5. Brady Diewold came on in relief, but he had hurt his arm early in the year and was finally cleared. He threw a shutout inning in the fifth, but, “little things here and there,” West Burlington coach Aaron Brown said, “and they finally put a three-run inning together and that was kind of a damper.”
Brown said the Falcons were putting the ball in play, but, “we still struggle with the bottom of the lineup, swinging at pitches above their hands.”
The Falcons don't play until Tuesday when they host Van Buren County.
In Van Buren's win over Notre Dame, the Nikes committed seven errors.
The Nikes scattered seven hits, including doubles by Oleson, Logan Brent, Schwenker, and Haberichter.
Schwenker was the losing pitcher in relief of Spencer Brent.
Also honored with Chiprez were: Kollin Alfred, former girls basketball coach; Mary Jo Miller, a long-time teacher at Notre Dame; Dan Reid, former baseball coach; Ryan Rump, former Athletic Director and boys basketball coach; Bill Walters, former baseball coach, and Randy Trine, former boys basketball and boys golf coach.