SLATER - The Ballard baseball team moved to within one more victory of reaching state by defeating Webster City, 8-3, to claim a Class 3A district championship Monday at Nite Hawk Field.
The Bombers (25-8) broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning. That gave them a 7-0 lead, and they easily withstood a three-run Webster City fifth to advance to face Boone in the substate round for the right to go to state.
Nic Edwards gave up three runs on three hits with three walks in five innings as the winning pitcher. Jack Luster and Cody Wolfe both threw a scoreless inning in relief, with Luster picking up two strikeouts and one walk and Wolfe fanning two batters.
Kade Reinertson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one walk and steal apiece, Wolfe finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and Edwards ended up 2-for-2 with a walk, run and steal to lead the Bombers’ 10-hit attack at the plate. Brooks Fleischmann finished 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs and an RBI; Logan Harmeyer went 1-for-3 with two steals and one walk and run apiece; Kyler Watson ended up 1-for-3 with a walk, a steal and a run and Luster was 1-for-3 with two steals and an RBI.
Sam Petersen walked once and scored twice and Reese Broer stole a base and scored a run.
Webster City ended its season at 20-10. Dylan Steen was the losing pitcher after surrendering seven earned runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts in four innings, and he also doubled and drove in two runs for the Lynx.
Ballard 8, Webster City 3
WC 000 030 0 - 3 4 0
B 101 501 X - 8 10 0
WC: Dylan Steen, Caleb Olson (5) and Devon Stoakes.
B: Nic Edwards, Jack Luster (6), Cody Wolfe (7) and Kade Reinertson.
2B: WC - Steen, Beau Klaver.
SLATER - Ballard broke out of a hitting slump in a big way to start Class 3A district play, pounding out 16 hits in a 12-2 victory over Perry in six innings during the district semifinals Friday at Nite Hawk Field.
The Bombers, ranked 10th in 3A, were limited to four runs by Dallas Center-Grimes, then shut out by Grinnell in their final two games of the regular season. On Friday they were as hot as the weather, connecting for 16 hits to improve to 24-8 and advance to face Webster City in the district finals.
“They didn’t play very well Monday or Tuesday, so they’re a little fired up right now,” Ballard head coach Nick Steenhagen said. “This is a team that has experience and they know how to win. They know how to take it to a team like that and score runs in every inning.”
Ballard built an 8-0 lead through four innings. Perry scored one run in each of the next two frames, but the Bombers countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth to end the game early.
Sam Petersen helped get Ballard clicking on offense.
Petersen was moved from hitting third to the leadoff spot after usual leadoff hitter Reece Huen was out for the last week of the regular season with a minor injury. Petersen responded on Friday by going 3-for-4 with a triple, steal, walk and three runs and two RBIs.
“I was seeing the ball well tonight,” Petersen said. “The sun is always a problem here in the first few innings, but I fought through that.”
His speed was also on display. Petersen stole a base in the first inning, turned what looked like a double into a triple in the bottom of the first and also took advantage of a couple passed balls in the fifth inning to race his way around the bases for a run.
“There’s tons of kids that can’t get the extra base or are just not looking for it,” Petersen said. “Making the fielders make perfect throws — it’s high school baseball so they can’t always do that. It’s always taking the extra base.”
Kyler Watson drove in the first two Bomber runs with a double in the first inning. Logan Harmeyer recovered from a strikeout in the first inning to hit an RBI double and an RBI single in his next two at-bats.
“The first at-bat I was just a little nervous, and then I kind of got into the groove,” Harmeyer said.
Jack Luster went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs and steals apiece. Huen played in his first game in a week and moved to the eighth spot in the order, going 2-for-4 with two runs, and Kade Reinertson was 2-for-3.
The dominance at the plate combined with an overmatched Perry lineup to allow Steenhagen to limit the innings of starter Nic Edwards. Edwards only threw 65 pitches, making him available for Webster City if needed.
“Nic’s been throwing really well his last couple outings,” Steenhagen said. “He probably could have finished the game, but because of where we were at situationally, it made sense to play the long game.”
Edwards allowed one run on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 4 ⅔ innings. Cody Wolfe went the rest of the way, surrendering an unearned run with three strikeouts and two walks.
All three Perry hits came from leadoff hitter Kaleb Olejniczak. Olejniczak recorded two singles and a triple and he drove in one run.
Avery Meister was the losing Bluejay pitcher. Meister surrendered six earned runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and a walk in three innings.
Ballard 12, Perry 2 (6)
P 000 011 - 2 3 3
B 212 313 - 12 16 2
P: Avery Meister, Keghan West (4) and
B: Nic Edwards, Kody Wolfe (5) and Kade Reinertson.
2B: B - Jack Luster 2, Logan Harmeyer, Kyler Watson.
3B: P - Kaleb Olejniczak. B - Sam Petersen.
GRINNELL - Ballard closed out the regular season with a rough night at the plate July 16, falling to Grinnell on the road, 4-0.
Ballard played error-free ball in the field, and pitchers Connor Finch, Jacob Ross and Logan Volkmann combined to hold Grinnell to just six hits. But the Bombers totaled only four hits themselves in falling to 23-8.
Cody Wolfe doubled and walked and Kyler Watson, Logan Harmeyer and Nic Edwards each singled for the Bombers. Sam Petersen walked and stole a base and Finch and Kade Reinertson each received one free pass.
Finch allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 4 ⅔ innings as the losing pitcher. Volkmann surrendered one run on one hit with one strikeout in one inning and Ross gave up one hit in a scoreless ⅓ of an inning.
Drew Coffman struck out two and walked four in 6 ⅔ innings as the winning Grinnell pitcher. Colin Gibson was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs and Alex Smith doubled and scored for the Tigers on offense.
Grinnell 4, Ballard 0
B 000 000 0 - 0 4 0
G 002 011 X - 4 6 1
B: Connor Finch, Jacob Ross (5), Logan Volkmann (6) and Kade Reinertson.
G: Drew Coffman, Owen Coffman (7) and Jayden Gibson.
WP: D. Coffman.
2B: B - Cody Wolfe. G - Alex Smith.
3B: G - Colin Gibson.
DALLAS CENTER - Ballard wasn’t quite able to recover from a shaky second inning in a 5-4 loss at Dallas Center-Grimes July 15 at Dallas Center.
The Bombers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but then gave up four runs in the second and one in the third. Ballard recovered with two runs in the fifth, but couldn’t push any more scores across, suffering its second loss to the Mustangs on the season.
Jack Luster doubled twice and drove in two runs and Sam Petersen was 2-for-4 with two runs and a steal for Ballard at the plate. Kade Reinertson went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI, Kyler Watson singled and walked, Logan Volkmann singled and stole a base, Brooks Fleischmann singled, Reese Broer scored two runs and stole a base and Logan Harmeyer picked up two steals.
Luster was the losing pitcher. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits and four walks with five strikeouts in five innings. Cody Wolfe threw a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit.
Chase Stratton allowed two runs with one strikeout and walk apiece in 1 ⅔ innings of relief as the winning DCG pitcher. Zack Beekmann and Kyle Endsley both homered and drove in two runs for the Mustangs.
DCG 5, Ballard 4
B 200 020 0 - 4 9 1
DCG 041 000 X - 5 8 0
B: Jack Luster, Cody Wolfe and Kade Reinertson.
DCG: Caleb Dicken, Chase Stratton (4), Max Crooks (5), Zack Beekmann (7) and Cole Wessling.
2B: B - Luster 2.
HR: DCG - Beekmann, Kyle Endsley.