Inexperience resulted in inconsistency for the Colo-Nesco baseball team in 2014 as the Royals never won more than two games in a row in a 6-20 campaign.
Colo-Nesco lost four key seniors off last year’s 12-18 team. The Royals also had to adjust to a new head coach in Brandon Frohwein.
“I have been an assistant coach for 12 years, so the biggest challenge was just making adjustments to head coach,” Frohwein said. “I don’t feel the adjustment was difficult, but I had to keep perspective that we were a largely inexperienced team and it is going to be a process to get where we want to go. It isn’t going to happen overnight. I think we are putting everything in place to be successful over an extended period of time, but the key is to keep everyone out (for baseball). It is the biggest challenge for all baseball programs. I think the experience our younger players gained will be invaluable going into next season. We return eight of nine starters, including all of our starting pitchers.”
The Royals started the season with lopsided losses to West Marshall and Lynnville-Sully. But they picked up back-to-back victories on May 30 and June 3 by whipping Clarksville, 16-6, and edging Colfax-Mingo by a 5-4 score.
But things didn’t go very smoothly the rest of June. Colo-Nesco only picked up one victory in its next 14 games - a 9-6 triumph at Tripoli on June 11.
Two forfeit wins over Meskwaki on July 1, followed by a big 3-2 win over Dunkerton on July 2, snapped Colo-Nesco out of its funk.
“We won a nine-inning against a Dunkerton team that finished second in the North Division of the Iowa Star Conference,” Frohwein said. “Christian Reischauer pitched nine strong innings. The next day we played North Tama to a hard-fought 3-2 loss and Brady Stoeffler pitched extremely well in that game then followed that up with a strong showing against Nevada.”
Colo-Nesco had losses to BCLUW and East Marshall in between its loss to North Tama and a well-played 3-1 setback at Nevada on July 10. The Royals ended up 5-9 in the ISC.
Colo-Nesco took on Iowa Christian Academy in its Class 1A district opener and the Royals fell by a 9-3 score to end the season.
“I am disappointed we were not able to win more games,” Frohwein said. “But I am extremely excited about the future.”
For the season, Colo-Nesco scored 86 runs with a .226 team batting average, .331 on-base average and .270 slugging average. The Royals totaled 22 extra-base hits and had 50 steals in 54 attempts.
In 2013 Colo-Nesco scored 157 runs on a .233 average with 32 extra-base hits, a .379 on-base average and 71 steals.
Defensively, Colo-Nesco fielded at an .896 rate with 56 errors in 541 chances. That was on par with last year’s .901 fielding average.
The Colo-Nesco pitching staff allowed 229 runs with a 6.18 earned-run average in 141 ⅔ innings this season after giving up 155 runs and posting a 3.43 ERA in 2013. This year’s Royal pitchers tallied 131 strikeouts and 153 walks.
Reischauer and Stoeffler handled the bulk of the pitching duties for Colo-Nesco this season. Stoeffler only threw 13 ⅔ innings last year and Reischauer didn’t throw varsity in 2013.
Reischauer went 3-6 this season with a 3.35 ERA in 60 ⅔ innings. He struck out 78, walked 53 and also hit 11 batters.
Stoeffler finished 1-8 with a 6.02 ERA in 52 ⅓ innings. He gave up 42 walks and hit 11 batters and also struck out 36.
Tanner Clatt was 0-1 in nine innings, Mark Frohwein finished 0-2 in 7 ⅓ innings, Steven Cutler was 0-1 in seven innings and Taylor Hill wound up 0-1 in 5 ⅓ innings.
At the plate Hill and Grant Tiarks joined Reischauer in hitting over .300 for Colo-Nesco this summer.
Hill posted a .357 average with a .430 OBA and .500 slugging average. He hit six doubles and two triples and finished with 15 runs, 11 RBI and seven steals.
Hill also threw out two runners and posted a .930 fielding average at catcher.
Tiarks hit .302 with a .413 OBA, four doubles and one triple. He scored and drove in 14 runs apiece and also made 28 putouts and 18 assists defensively.
Reischauer hit .307 with one double, 15 runs and seven RBI. He also stole 11 bases in 12 attempts and had a .978 fielding average.
Stoeffler and Cutler hit .222 and .207 respectively for Colo-Nesco.
Stoeffler had a .402 OBA with a team-high 17 walks and he also scored nine times, drove in seven runs and stole five bases. Cutler walked 12 times, posted a .370 OBA and totaled five runs and six steals.
In the field Stoeffler had a .925 fielding average with 23 putouts and 14 assists. Cutler made 20 assists and 19 putouts on the season.
Eighth-grader Matthew Hill and junior Payton Larson hit .191 and .186 respectively for Colo-Nesco. Hill also had eight RBI and three steals and Larson finished with three doubles and five runs and RBI apiece.
Larson also made 25 putouts and 19 assists at second base.
Clatt and Frohwein hit .149 and .143 respectively. They turned in respective OBAs of .240 and .236.
Clatt also had two doubles, six runs, three RBI and three steals. In the field, he posted a .930 fielding average with 40 putouts.
Frohwein had four runs and one RBI. He recorded a .910 fielding average with 79 putouts and two assists.
Christian Montgomery had a .250 OBA in 13 at-bats, Garrett Tiarks put up a .150 OBA in 10 at-bats and Evan Webb recorded a .400 OBA in nine at-bats for Colo-Nesco. Wayne Beard scored five runs and Garrett also had 27 putouts and three assists in the field.
Garrett Packer saw some time as an eighth-grader, picking up four putouts .
Taylor Hill and Webb were the only seniors on the Colo-Nesco roster in 2014.
“Taylor is one of the best defensive catchers and hitters in our conference and it will not be easy to replace his contributions,” Brandon Frohwein said. “Evan was a very good outfielder and pinch runner for us.”
That leaves the team with a lot of experience coming back for 2015.
“We have approximately 20 kids out between eighth grade and sophomore year,” Frohwein said. “If we can keep everyone out and improving, we should have a very bright future. We have the potential for a very good pitching staff next year and also for improvement on offense.”