MARION — Maybe he was just buffalo-ing. Coaches will do that sometimes.
In a quick, off-the-cuff, pregame conversation Thursday night, Linn-Mar baseball coach Kyle Rodenkirk talked about his excitement that the National Hockey League appears to coming back to begin and finish its playoffs.
He likes the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, by the way.
Then he was asked if his Lions were going to be OK this season.
“No,” he quickly replied, citing his team’s general inexperience.
Yeah, Kyle, you’re buffalo-ing. Linn-Mar looked more than OK in a 12-2, six-inning win over mistake-prone Western Dubuque at Lowe Park. Western Dubuque is ranked sixth in Class 4A.
No, WD did not have the services of Calvin Harris, the state’s best player and a University of Mississippi signee. A catcher whom MLB clubs seriously considered in last week’s abbreviated, five-round draft, Harris injured his arm pitching in his team’s opener earlier this weekend against Dubuque Wahlert and did not play here, though he is expected to back soon.
At any rate, as good as he is, Harris would not have made a 10-run difference here. Linn-Mar (2-0) received five really good starting pitching innings from southpaw Colin Streff and put things away with a seven-run bottom of the fifth.
“The main thing I was trying to do was throw strikes,” said Streff, who allowed three hits and a run, walking one and striking out eight. “Make them put the ball in play. If I find my spots, good things will happen.”
Streff seemed to have a decent fastball and good-looking changeup that faded away from right-handed hitters. Coy Sarsfield, a University of Iowa commit, started the scoring for the Lions with a two-run triple in the fourth.
The telltale fifth inning included a Kane Deutmeyer run-scoring single. Streff, Sarsfield and Deutmeyer are all juniors.
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All nine guys in Linn-Mar’s starting batting lineup reached base either via hit, walk or hit batter. Deutmeyer and senior Andy Althoff had two hits apiece.
“No, I was not. I swear to God,” Rodenkirk said postgame, when his pregame comment was brought up. “That was just a great team victory. They executed on offense, the defense was OK. We’ve got some things to clean up, but that was just a good, team victory.
“They’re learning quick. Tuesday we did not play real sharp, but they’re coming around. They’re very coachable kids and fun to be around.”
Western Dubuque (1-1) was not sharp, committing three errors. The Bobcats did get two hits from leadoff hitter Will Burds.
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