By John Miller
On paper, Tuesday’s matchup between Glendale and Kickapoo was supposed to be a competitive game.
Kolton Giefer didn’t care for that narrative.
The Kickapoo junior blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, in his only two plate appearances, leading the Chiefs past their top rival 11-1 in a run-ruled five inning game at Kickapoo High School.
Giefer entered Tuesday’s game with two RBIs on the season. He left with nine.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard,” Giefer said. “I’ve hit home runs in (batting practice) but haven’t done it in a game since I’ve been in high school.”
He made up for lost time. Giefer’s first homer, a grand slam that banged off the scoreboard in left, came in the second inning—a no-doubter that gave Kickapoo its initial 4-0 lead.
“It was a pretty good sense of relief,” Giefer said. “We’ve been in a pretty good slump lately. It felt pretty good.”
His second bomb, a three-run blast down the left-field line in the third, was also smacked.
“He’s got very quick hands,” Kickapoo coach Jason Howser said. “He’s been working on trying to plane the ball more on a line than getting underneath it, skying it in the infield. He put a real good line drive swing on that first home run. That’s the type of swing we envision from him.
“The second one, he did a great job of staying inside of it and keeping the thing fair. It would’ve been real easy to get aggressive and hook that thing, but he stayed inside of it and got enough of it to get it out of here.”
Kickapoo (10-7, 3-1 Ozark Conference) got contributions up and down its lineup. Seven of nine hitters reached base safely. Chandler Jones went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a two-run double. Mason Auer was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a two-RBI single.
The Chiefs also worked good at-bats. They drew six walks and had nine total hits in the run-shortened five inning game.
“This was one game,” Howser said. “Glendale is a good club. (Glendale starter Ethan Paschke) has been very hot. We’ve been due to break out. The question for us is: can we show up for practice tomorrow and try to get better? Can we continue this as we move forward? While we’re happy for the win against a conference and district opponent, we also need to take the next step after midnight (Tuesday).”
Glendale (13-6, 2-2 OC) struggled to patch together a rally against Kickapoo starter Adam Link. Trailing 4-0 in the third, the Falcons had two on and nobody out when Dylan Stowell ripped a double into the left-centerfield gap. Connor Burnett scored on the plate, but Tanner Kellerstrass was gunned out at the plate. Link pitched out of the jam without surrendering further damage. He allowed only two hits and one run in the game, striking out six and walking one.
Kickapoo will now prepare to face West Plains on Thursday, while Glendale travels to Hillcrest.
Kickapoo 11, Glendale 1
Glendale 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1
Kickapoo 0 4 3 4 X 11 9 0
Glendale: Burnett, Stowell (2B)
Kickapoo: Salyers, Jones 3 (2B), Kaufman, Auer 2, Giefer 2 (2 HR)