OAKLAND — District baseball gets underway tonight across the state, and just one area game is on tap.
Riverside (0-18), which is in rebuilding mode, will be hosting Essex-South Page (1-13) in a pigtail-round Iowa Class 1A contest. The winner travels to Council Bluffs to take on St. Albert, a 20-12 team that still has Hawkeye Ten Conference games against Glenwood and Harlan before they enter post-season play on Saturday.
The area’s other teams — AHSTW, Audubon, CAM, Exira-EHK and Griswold in Class 1A, ACGC of Guthrie Center in Class 2A — wait until Saturday to take the field.
Here’s a little bit of what to expect in the Riverside vs. Essex-South Page first-round game:
• Riverside: The Bulldogs have 10 eighth graders on their roster, compared to just six sophomores or juniors. The team is looking to the future, looking to improve in multiple areas including batting average (0.178), on-base percentage (0.276), hits (76) and runs scored (24). Ed Vicek has a team-high 14 hits while Wyatt Hough has four RBIs. Pitching will likely be another point of emphasis during the offseason, as the pitchers have walked 130 batters and have a combined 13.26 ERA. The Bulldogs have been outscored 266-40.
• Essex-South Page: The Trojans have likewise also struggled this summer, with only a win over Griswold (9-5) to show for their efforts. The team has been outscored 159-58. Statistically, things are better for the Trojans, despite five fewer games: ERA (8.45), runs scored (58) and RBIs (33). Colton Thornburg and Eli Drennen each had 12 hits, a team high, while Quentin Thornburg has driven in 13 runs. Daniel Ohnmacht (1-2) has an ERA of 2.70 and has struck out 25 in 36-1/3 innings of work., but other than Drennen the rest of the bullpen have each had fewer than 10 innings of mound work.