Wild start to district baseball

Posted 7/15/99

After the smoke cleared from a wild night of opening …

By Mark Adkins

M-P, Highland, Lone Tree advance

After the smoke cleared from a wild night of opening round district baseball action …

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Wild start to district baseball


After the smoke cleared from a wild night of opening …

By Mark Adkins

M-P, Highland, Lone Tree advance

After the smoke cleared from a wild night of opening round district baseball action in Class 1A and 2A, three Kalona News area teams remained standing.

Mid-Prairie, Highland of Ainsworth-Riverside and Lone Tree each advanced with victories Monday night.

Of the bunch, the Golden Hawks’ 11-7 win at Williamsburg over the host Raiders might have been the wildest. Tim Sauer’s team had dodge two late Raider rallies in order to move into a Thursday night date with Iowa City Regina in the district semifinal.

“Williamsburg just hit the ball,” Sauer said. “They are fairly young, too, with freshmen at third and catcher.

“Their pitcher, (Danny) Maas also pitched well in the middle innings after he we got to him early,” he added. “I would have liked to have saved Randy (Woodruff) for more innings against Regina, but sometimes the best laid plans don’t come about. We are in the same boat as Regina because they had to go with (Mike) Tuning, their ace, for seven innings tonight.”

M-P appeared as if Sauer’s best laid plans would come about early on Monday. Jared Arieux drilled a solo home run to dead center field in the top of the first and Jon Troyer came back with a long two-run blast in the second, coupled with an RBI single from Dan Hartzler, for a 4-0 lead after two frames.

However, from that point on, Maas limited the Golden Hawks to three hits over the next three innings. Woodruff kept the Raiders at bay until the fifth as Ryan Spratt drilled a two-run double to cut M-P’s margin in half and the Raiders cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth on Pat McDonald’s RBI fielder’s choice.

The Williamsburg sixth looked even bigger with the bases being loaded and nobody out after McDonald’s grounder. However, Woodruff battled back for a strikeout and then forced a suicide squeeze double play as Sam McDonald bunted too high with Lee Wetjen heading for home with the potential tying run. Woodruff fielded the ball on the fly and threw to third for the last out.

M-P answered Williamsburg’s rally with seven runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Hartzler and Adam Kos got the inning started with three RBI’s combined as Raider centerfielder Wetjen lost both balls in the lights. Tyrell Gingerich made sure his ball wasn’t lost in the lights as he drilled a two-run home run to left and Woodruff concluded the inning with a two-run single.

“The pitch was right down the middle,” Gingerich said of his first home run since “Babe Ruth”.

“One of the things I liked about tonight was that we continued to hit the ball well,” Sauer said. “Tyrell’s home run was a big shot.”

The Raiders weren’t done, either. With Hartzler on to replace Woodruff, Spratt drilled an RBI triple, a wild pitch scored a run and Nick Metzer hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to 11-7 in the seventh inning. Hartzler battled back and struck out two straight hitters before Jeff Bontrager came on to retire the last batter on a line drive to left field.

“We got a little tentative in the seventh,” Gingerich said. “We had some errors, but once we settled down, we came back and got the last three outs.”

Sauer wasn’t sure who he would go to for the Regina game Thursday night.

“I probably won’t know until Thursday,” he said. “All we know is that Regina is a very, very good baseball team and it is tough to beat a team three times.”


Maroon and Black head coach Dennis Grimm saw his first season as head baseball coach come to a close with a 9-13 record after a 9-3 loss to Highland at Lone Tree Monday.

“Hey, we had a pretty good season when you consider how young we were,” he said. “Highland just hit the ball well. They were ready and we weren’t.”

IMS appeared ready in the opening inning as Zach Grimm drilled a two-run home run in the top of the first off Husky starter Nick Cole for a quick lead. However, Highland came right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning as Mike Poch singled home a run and Jim Simon plated a run with a fielder’s choice.

Casey Kellogg put the Huskies up 3-2 in the home half of the second with a solo shot, while Jeremy LaRoche made it 4-2 with an RBI single. IMS could have cut into the lead in their half of the third, but Husky catcher Brian Rose picked Grimm off at first and threw Ryan Schrock out at third trying to steal to shut down their threat.

IMS did trim the lead to 4-3 in the fourth as Tim Yoder singled home a run. IMS nearly tied the game, but Justin Slaubaugh was thrown out at home plate on a close play.

From that point, the Huskies took over. Grimm put Chuck Miller in to pitch in place of Clint Miller in the fourth and Highland greeted Miller with a two-run home run by Cole, an RBI single by Rose and an RBI double by Joe Poch for an 8-3 cushion. Highland added one more for the 9-3 final.

“Clint came back in and shut them down,” Grimm said. “I probably should have left him in the whole time, but that’s the way it goes.”

Highland advances to Friday’s district semifinal at Lone Tree against the host Lions. Lone Tree had to come back twice against highly-touted Winfield-Mount Union for a 12-8 win in nine innings Monday.

Cody Mills and Ryan Ronan each blasted home runs in the four-run Lion ninth. Culley Kline, on in relief of Ryan Barnes after the Wolves struck Barnes for five runs in two-thirds of an inning, kept Winfield down to three runs over the final eight and a third innings for the win.

Thursday’s contest at Williamsburg and Friday’s game at Lone Tree will each get underway at 7:30 p.m. Winners from the district semifinals will advance to district championship play either Monday or Tuesday of next week.