Palmer leads Royals to 10-0 rout over Rangers


By Nicholas Huenefeld

Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

NORTHWOOD — Jimmie Palmer collected four hits Monday to lead the Elmwood baseball team to a 10-0 road win over Northwood.

Palmer, the team’s starting third baseman, finished 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI from the two spot in the lineup. He also delivered the game’s lone home run in the fourth inning.

“I felt really confident at the plate,” Palmer said. “The boys brought a lot of energy. My teammates were doing their job, staying loud in the dugout. I just saw the ball well today and things worked out.”

Elmwood got a solid performance on the mound as Tanner Shaffer struck out seven over four scoreless innings. Luke Armbruster finished off the Rangers with a 1-2-3 fifth inning.

“Tanner giving us a quality start like that helped us settle in and win the game,” Elmwood coach Matt Malecha said. “Once the offense started going, I thought we did a good job of running bases, getting bunts down and barreling up the baseball.”

The Royals were held scoreless over the first two innings by Northwood’s Ethan Clair before breaking through with five runs in the third. Palmer and Armbruster started the rally with RBI singles. A squeeze bunt and an error rounded out the scoring.

“We can go make plays,” Northwood coach Clay Rolf said. “We just have to do it consistently. We’re young. We lock in for two innings and then we miss an inning. We gave up five runs in that one inning where we weren’t as locked in as we need to be. We’ll keep learning that. We have seen a lot of growth. I’m excited for this group to keep working.”

A run-producing bunt from Kameron Kingery highlighted a four-run fifth inning for Elmwood, who improved to 8-4 on the season. The senior second baseman finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and knocked in.

“Offensively, it kind of took us one time through the lineup for us to kind of make an adjustment,” Malecha said. “Once we did, I thought we had some really good at bats.”

In addition to Palmer and Kingery’s output, Armbruster went 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk.

“I thought our senior leaders did a good job of keeping us in the game and keeping the energy up,” Malecha said. “Jimmie led us at the plate offensively, and we got some contributions from a lot of different guys. It was definitely a total team effort.”

Zaegan Byington and Nathan Huber combined for Northwood’s two hits in the game, and Rolf said his young team that graduated six players who played 100 percent of the innings last year is working on consistency.

“I was happy with the way we competed,” Rolf said. “We’re still learning to compete and compete consistently, so I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.

“Elmwood’s a good squad. They swing it really well. We have to field the ball a little bit better than we did, but the way we pitched, we pitched a good game. We have to make more plays behind him.”

Northwood fell to 0-9 with the loss, but Rolf looks forward to seeing where his team ends up.

“We have some older guys, but guys who haven’t played a lot of innings for us,” Rolf said. “They’re learning as quick as they can and obviously our schedule is not the easiest.

“I like our energy. Our attitude and effort have been there. If we keep controlling that, if we keep doing that, we’re going to keep taking steps in the right direction. We’re learning, we just have to keep pushing the pedal.”

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