DES MOINES - A rough bottom of the third inning was the difference for the Ballard baseball team in an 8-3 loss to No. 4 Saydel during the Class 3A district finals Monday at Saydel High School in Des Moines.


The Bombers outplayed Saydel for 6 ½ innings in gritty effort. But Saydel scored six times in the bottom of the third and Ballard never could come up with a big inning of its own, finishing the season with a 15-20 record.


Ballard took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the third after pushing a run across in the top of the inning. The Bombers tacked on two more runs in a last-ditch comeback attempt during the seventh.


Ballard fell despite outhitting Saydel, 7-6. The Bombers left 11 runners on base to just six for Saydel.


Jack Luster was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs and Clayton Poots walked and drove in two runs for the Bombers. Reece Huen walked twice and scored; Austin Edwards, Kade Reinertson, Codey Erickson were each 1-for-3 with a walk and Tanner Brock singled once.


Colin Anderson was the losing Bomber pitcher after giving up five earned runs on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 2 ⅓ innings. Luster surrendered two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 3 ⅔ innings.


Devon VanHouten allowed two runs — one earned — on two hits and six walks with seven strikeouts in five relief innings as the winning Saydel pitcher. Craig Garrison doubled, homered and drove in six runs for the Eagles.


Saydel 8, Ballard 3


B 001 000 2 - 3 7 2


S 006 002 X - 8 6 1


B: Colin Anderson, Jack Luster (3) and Kade Reinertson.


S: Devin Porter, Devon VanHouten (3) and Craig Garrison.


WP: VanHouten.


LP: Anderson.


2B: B - Luster. S - Garrison, Cash Lee.


HR: S - Garrison.


DES MOINES - With the season on the line, senior Austin Edwards delivered in a big way for Ballard against rival Nevada in the Class 3A district semifinals Friday at Saydel High School in Des Moines.


Edwards fired a no-hitter to lead Ballard to a 2-0 victory over the Cubs and put the Bombers in the district finals against No. 4 Saydel on Monday. It was Ballard’s first postseason victory in five years.


The outstanding performance provided Edwards with some redemption after taking the loss against Gilbert in last year’s district semifinals.


“Last year I didn’t come out and do very well,” Edwards said. “I looked to come out and dominate tonight. It felt a lot better.”


Confidence in his defense helped Edwards keep Nevada off the scoreboard.


In the top of the first inning, Nevada’s Tyler Shafer reached on an error and was sacrificed over to second before Edwards forced Trent Stahl to fly out and Bronzon Mason to line out. Nevada didn’t get another runner on base the rest of the night.


“I just went out there and tried to throw as may strikes as I could and let my defense play behind me,” Edwards said. “I started off fastball, worked (some) breaking stuff in, off-speed and I could get a couple of fastballs by them at the end. Other than that, they put the ball in play and my defense came up big.”


Edwards finished the game with five strikeouts and no walks.


Junior Codey Erickson came up with the big hit of the game for Ballard in the bottom of the third inning.


Ballard loaded the bases after Kade Reinertson was hit by a pitch, Jack Luster reached on a fielder’s choice and Edwards walked. Erickson entered the batter’s box with two outs and laced a single to center off Shafer, scoring courtesy runner Taylor Roberts and Luster for the game’s only runs.


“It was just the perfect pitch to hit and the right time to get the hit,” Erickson said. “I knew he was going to throw strikes, so I came in and I jumped on him.”


Erickson ended the game with two singles. Luster, Clay Estrem and Reece Huen each picked up one base hit.


Ballard improved to 15-19 with the victory.


Nevada finished the season at 14-11. Shafer threw another strong game for the Cubs, but they had no answers for Edwards.


Shafer gave up five hits and worked around three Cub errors to keep his team in the game. He finished with four strikeouts and only one walk.


Ballard 2, Nevada 0


N 000 000 0 - 0 0 3


B 002 000 X - 2 5 1


N: Tyler Shafer and Macade Matuska.


B: Austin Edwards and Kade Reinertson.


WP: Edwards.


LP: Shafer.


GRINNELL - Ballard came apart late in an 11-2 loss at Grinnell to end the regular season July 11.


The Bombers were outscored 9-0 over the last two innings. Grinnell jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Ballard scored once in the second and added another run in the top of the fifth to tie the game.


In the bottom of the fifth, Grinnell began to assert itself with a four-run outburst. The Tigers plated five more runs in the sixth to put the game away.


Reece Huen was 2-for-4 with a run, Tanner Brock doubled and walked twice, Austin Edwards singled and Jack Luster walked two times for Ballard. Clay Estrem walked and scored and Kade Reinertson also drew a free pass for the Bombers.


Jack Luster gave up nine runs — just three earned — on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts in two innings of relief as the losing Bomber pitcher. Edwards allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks in 3 ⅓ innings as the Bomber starter and Estrem struck out two and surrendered one hit in ⅔ of an inning.


Owen Coffman gave up one hit and two walks with three strikeouts in 3 ⅔ scoreless innings as the winning Grinnell pitcher. Jayden Gibson was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBI and Jake Hull went 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI as the top Tiger hitters.


Grinnell 11, Ballard 2


B 010 010 0 - 2 4 5


G 200 045 X - 11 8 3


B: Austin Edwards, Jack Luster (4), Clay Estrem (6) and Kade Reinertson.


G: Drew Coffman, Owen Coffman (5) and Jayden Gibson.


WP: D. Coffman.


LP: Luster.


2B: B - Tanner Brock. G - Ethan Mitchell.


3B: G - Gibson.