2A baseball: Carroll Kuemper routs; Clear Lake to defend crown – DesMoinesRegister.com
It was evident from the first batter that Carroll Kuemper starting pitcher Tyler Laing brought his A-game Thursday night to Principal Park.
The junior hurler painted the corner for strike three against Pleasantville’s Zeb Adreon. It was just the ninth time all year the Pleasantville senior had been K’d.
“Their pitcher was hitting spots early and mixing up speeds — it was hard to square balls up,” Adreon said. “And then defensively, they just made all the plays.”
With his mix of fastballs, curveballs and changeups, Laing kept the Trojans hitless through five innings, and was even hearing some no-hit chatter.
“Somebody brought it up, they said, ‘You still have a no-hitter going,’ and then that sixth inning they broke through. But I thought, ‘We’re still ahead, we’re still going to get this, we still got it.’ ”
Laing’s heroics on the mound were complemented by 11 Kuemper hits, which aided by three Pleasantville errors led to the Knights’ 7-1 shellacking.
“We did what we could, and errors are going to happen, it’s baseball, you’re never going to be perfect,” Pleasantville’s Ethan Worthington said. “We just had to face the adversity, and it was a tough hill to overcome.”
It wasn’t just Laing who started hot. The Knights batted through the lineup in the bottom of the first inning, amassing four runs in the process.
Pleasantville starting pitcher Colton Major had been sensational all year, but struggled early in this one. He left in the second inning after five Kuemper runs — four of them earned — had crossed the plate.
“I think our dugout and our guys on the field, they never drooped. But give credit to Laing, he was phenomenal,” Pleasantville coach Sheldon Card said. “And we haven’t been a big run-scoring team this season, we’re more pitching and defense. So for us to come back from that early deficit was a little tough for us.”
The No. 2 seed Knights played one of the tougher schedules in 2A during the regular season, 18 of their opponents were from 3A and 4A. They went 10-8 against those squads.
“The 3A and 4A teams hit the ball harder, which has really helped our fielding,” Laing said. “They hit the heck out of the ball, and our guys are making great plays on defense for me.”
For Pleasantville, which is playing up in 2A from 1A for the first season, this season will be considered a triumph
“Moving up to 2A and making the semis, I think that’s more than anyone could have thought us doing this year,” said Worthington. “So I’m really proud of our guys.”
Pleasantville…000 001 0—1 2 3
Kuemper…410 110 x—7 11 1
Hitting leaders—C: Laing 4×4. W: Laing; L: Major
Clear Lake 10, Hinton 7
Clear Lake is moving on to the state championship game for the second straight year.
Despite allowing six runs in the final three innings, the top-seeded Lions defeated fifth-seeded Hinton 10-7 in a Class 2A semifinal Thursday at Principal Park in Des Moines. Hinton ends its season at 24-6.
Clear Lake (30-7), the 2A defending champ, led 9-1 after three innings of play. Hinton recorded three runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh, but the Lions’ early lead was too much to overcome.
Cooper Merrill led Clear Lake at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a game-high five RBI. Ethan McHenry picked up the win for the Lions on the mound, tossing 5 2/3 innings with six strike outs. H eallowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits.
Clear Lake will face third-seeded Kuemper Catholic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the 2A title.
Hinton…001 032 1—7 11 1
Clear Lake…027 001 X—10 10 3
Hitting leaders—H: Henrich 3×4; C: Merrill 2×4. W: McHenry; L: Heinrich.