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Bucks claim Capitol Conference title

Bucks claim Capitol Conference title

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Matthew Kienzler 4.21

FUMBLED: Branched Oak senior Matthew Kienzler fumbles the ball as Platte Valley junior Levi Kennedy of Ashland-Greenwood slides into second during a game in Valparaiso on Thursday. (Staff Photo by Elsie Stormberg)

VALPARAISO – The Branched Oak Bucks baseball team started a busy week with a big 10-1 victory on the road against the Arlington Eagles on April 12.

The Bucks broke the game open with a six-run sixth inning.

Branched Oak had nine base hits, walked nine times and finished the game with 23 baserunners against the Eagles.

Sophomore Colby DenHartog had another big game for the visitors and finished with three hits including a double, led the team with three RBI and scored a run.

Senior Gavin Dunse also added three hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Junior Connor Zegar also came through with a two-run single in the sixth inning.

Zegar worked all seven innings, allowed just three hits and one run while striking out nine Eagle hitters.

The Bucks returned to action 24 hours later when they traveled to West Point for a game against GACC/SS/WPB on April 13.

The Branched Oak bats fell silent and they were defeated by a 4-0 score.

Junior Travis Nelson, sophomore Hayden Frank and DenHartog were the only Buck players to finish with base hits.

Freshman pitcher Maddox Meyer started and was tagged with the loss after allowing four hits, three walks and three runs in four-and-two-thirds of an inning.

The Bucks returned to the field on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon in Valparaiso for a make-up contest against Platte Valley.

The game was a wild offensive affair that was claimed by the Bucks 11-10.

The Bucks hammered out 14 base hits, earned six walks and finished with 24 baserunners against the Patriots.

DenHartog and Nelson both finished with three hits and combined to score four runs against the Patriots.

Senior Michael Potter added two hits and drove in two runs.

Four Branched Oak pitchers scattered eight hits, 10 runs and six walks over seven innings.

Two days later the Bucks opened Capitol Conference Tournament play on a cold and breezy Saturday afternoon in Valparaiso.

The Bucks started off with an efficient 5-1 victory over the Arlington Eagles in the semifinals.

The Bucks fell behind 1-0 after one inning, but controlled the game the rest of the way behind a dominant performance from DenHartog. 

The Buck sophomore went the distance and allowed just six hits and one run.

Potter and Frank each finished with two hits and Dunse drove in a run with a double.

The win over the Eagles put the Bucks into a Saturday championship contest against the Fort Calhoun Pioneers.

The Bucks built an early lead and cruised to the 9-2 tournament championship victory.

Senior Matthew Kienzler had a monster offensive game for the home team.

He finished with three hits, two doubles, three runs scored and two RBI.

Nelson added two hits and two RBI.

Zegar earned the win on the mound for the home team after scattering six hits and two runs over seven innings. He struck out a career-high nine.

They won sixth in the last seven games for the Bucks and moved their season mark of 9-4.

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