F or West High pitcher Nick Spiess, Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over Regina was all about trust.
The junior right hander trusted his stuff and trusted his defense and the result was a complete game six-hitter in just his second start of the season. Spiess also helped his cause by allowing no walks.
“That was a goal of mine,” Spiess said. “I’ve walked too many people this year. I was trying not to walk as many in this game.
“I trusted my stuff more. I put it in the zone and said, ‘I’ve got a good defense behind me and let them work. “‘
The Class 4A second-ranked Trojans improved to 12-3 on the season, while Regina, which is ranked fifth in Class 2A, fell to 8-4. West also was able to avenge an 8-6 loss to the Regals last season.
“It meant a lot to us this year because we lost to them last year,” Spiess said. “The seniors really wanted it. I wasn’t a part of that team last year. But I knew they really wanted, it and I was doing it for them.”
His timing couldn’t have been better with West coming off a doubleheader split against Cedar Rapids Prairie on Monday.
“We needed that,” West coach Charlie Stumpff said. “We kind of went through (our pitchers) pretty good last night in that 12-11 game with Prairie.
“Sometimes, somebody has to step up, and Nick saved us. We had one other guy available tonight. You just need that. You need that in the majors. You need that here. We can regroup a little bit.”
Sophomore Jake Brinkman also went the distance on the mound for Regina, but he struggled with his control at times and walked five batters. Brinkman also allowed solo home runs to third baseman Tyus Adkins in the fourth inning and second baseman Reid Bonner in the fifth.
Adkins and Bonner entered Tuesday’s game with batting averages of .244 and .250, respectively. It also was the first home run for each player this season.
“We put some good approaches together (at the plate),” Stumpff said. “(Brinkman) was throwing very well. He did a good job, but we had just seen a bunch of pitching lately.
“Reid had been struggling a bit, so this was kind of a coming out tonight.”
Regina scored the game’s first run in the top of the third inning on a fielder’s choice in which John Ries barely beat the throw at first base to avoid an inning-ending double play. Payton Rasso started the third inning with a single and scored on a grounder to third base by Ries.
West evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on Adkins’ solo home run that sailed over the right field fence.
The Trojans scored two more runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth to provide Spiess with enough cushion.
“He threw just a nice game,” Regina coach Andy Gahan said of Spiess. “He kept our guys off balance, and he relied on his defense.”
Jake Brinkman and Mark Ward. Nick Spiess and Devin Raffensperger. 2B – John Ries (R), Jake Brinkman (R). HR – Tyus Adkins (W), Reid Bonner (W).