EMMETSBURG, Iowa - The North Union Warriors' baseball team scored six runs during a three-inning span to outpace the Estherville-Lincoln Central Midgets in a 6-3 Iowa Class 2A, District 2 semifinal game in Emmetsburg, Iowa, on Tuesday night.
North Union (26-6) advances to face Alta/Aurelia in the District 2 championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday night back in Emmetsburg. Alta/Aurelia shut out Sioux Central, 5-0, to reach the district finals.
The Warriors scored two runs in the top of the second inning on Alex Deitering's double to deep left-center field. Garrett Johnson hit a single to center field to start off the second inning for North Union. Cody Runksmeier hit a single to put runners on first and second with one out for Alex Deitering's blast.
TAGGED?OUT — North Union catcher Jake Adams tags out Estherville-Lincoln Central runner Derek Nieland at the plate during first-inning Iowa Class 2A, District 2 baseball playoff action Tuesday night in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Photo by Chloe Rosedail/Estherville Daily News
North Union started another scoring rally in the top of the third inning when Evan Hagebock led off with a scorching double down the third base line. Brett Thackery reached on an error by Midget third baseman Joe Clayton, moving Hagebock to third. Thackery then stole second to get into scoring position for the Warriors.
Garrett Johnson hit a sacrifice fly deep to right field to score Hagebock and advance Thackery to third. Cody Runksmeier and Alex Deitering both walked to load the bases. Brandon Kollasch delivered a base hit to right-center, scoring both Thackery and Runksmeier to give North Union a 5-0 lead.
The Warriors added another run in the top of the fourth inning when Sawyer Doocy hit a double to score Hagebock from second base. Hagebock reached on an error and stole second to get into scoring position.
"We jumped on them early like we wanted. It would have been nice to keep the pedal down a little longer in the game," said North Union head coach Chad Slagle.
The Midgets threatened early in the game, with Derek Nieland on second after hitting a single and advancing on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the first inning.
ELC's Clayton had a base hit into shallow center field that looked to score Nieland for the first run of the game. A hard throw by Warrior centerfielder Garrett Johnson nailed Nieland at the plate to end the inning.
ELC finally put some runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Clayton reached on an error by Runksmeier at shortstop, and advanced to second on a base hit by Tucker Milburn. Doocy gave up a walk to Matt Burrell to load the bases for the Midgets.
Back-to-back singles by Adam Reiter and Justin Frederick scored Clayton and Milburn, respectively, for the first two ELC runs. A single off the end of the bat to left of the pitcher's mound by Bryce Hansen later scored Burrell to draw the Midgets within 6-3.
Doocy pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out eight to earn the complete-game victory for North Union.
"It came down to pitching and defense in the win, and Sawyer finished strong after having a tough inning there in the fourth," said Slagle. "They were getting hits that were just going off the end of the bat and it was frustrating for him because he was pitching well. But he got out of there and finished strong."
Kollasch went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to lead the Warrior offensive effort. Alex Deitering went 1-for-2 with an RBI, while Runksmeier went 1-for-2 with two runs scored for North Union.
Hagebock went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, Doocy went 1-for-4 with one RBI and Johnson went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
NU 023 100 0 - 6 7 3
ELC 000 300 0 - 3 4 2
Sawyer Doocy (WP) and Jake Adams. Joe Clayton (LP), Tucker Milburn (3) and Evan Hansen, Corey Reeves (4).
LOB-North Union 10 Esetherville-Lincoln Central 7. 2B-Evan Hagebock (NU), Alex Deitering (NU) and Sawyer Doocy (NU).