Jessen powers Rebels to district final
ALGONA — Sioux Central’s Chase Jessen gave up just two earned runs on five hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts during the Rebels’ 11-4 district semifinal win over Newell-Fonda, but it was his grand slam down the left field line in the third inning to give his team a 10-1 lead at the time that completely took the life out of the Mustangs at Bishop Garrigan’s home field Thursday.
Garrigan went on to pound Fort Dodge St. Edmond 13-1 in five innings during the second game of the doubleheader, setting up a district final between the Rebels and Golden Bears Saturday at 7 p.m. in Algona.
Sioux Central wasted little time making some noise against the Mustangs despite Newell-Fonda having taken the two regular season meetings by scores of 12-3 and 5-1.
Two walks and an infield hit by Caden Webber loaded the bases, and Ben Hargens was able to bring in Caleb Rock and move the remaining runners to second and third with a grounder to second base. However, a called third strike in the next at bat left the Rebels feeling like they’d missed an opportunity with just a 1-0 lead.
Newell-Fonda sat down quickly in the bottom half, flying out to center twice, singling then giving Jessen his first strikeout of the night.
Sioux Central got right back at it in the second as Trace Blomberg ripped a leadoff single to center, triggering a pitching change by the Mustangs.
The Newell-Fonda coaching staff ended up regretting the move as a walk in the next at bat was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Cavanaugh to put two runners in scoring position with one out.
Caleb Rock came up with a liner to right field in the following plate appearance to make it a 3-0 game, and a base on balls issued to Jessen with the next four pitches initiated another visit to the mound for the Mustangs.
The Newell-Fonda hurler remained unchanged after that stoppage, but two batters later Webber dropped an RBI single into left to make the game 4-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
Two Mustangs struck out before their number seven batter reached on an error, stole second, stole third and came home on an error attempting to throw him out at third base. A routine grounder to short then ended the inning.
After a quick fly out, Zach Lundquist jacked Sioux Central’s first long ball of the game, sending a laser to over the left-center fence to juice the Rebel dugout and move the scoreboard to 5-1.
Back-to-back walks and an error loaded the bases. Then a wild pitch allowed Blomberg to race home to make it 6-1.
Rock drew yet another walk, setting up Jessen’s moon shot to left which brought a third Mustang thrower to the rubber who was able to get out of the inning.
Despite the nine run advantage, Newell-Fonda caused some concern in the third, putting two men on with an error and a walk. A single to left ticked the scored to 10-2, and the throw home allowed both Mustangs on base to move into scoring position.
Another walk juiced the bags before a sacrifice fly made it 10-3, and a fourth Mustang run came home on a single to left.
However, Newell-Fonda got greedy and was caught attempting to steal third, ending the inning.
The Rebels scored the game’s final run in the top of the fourth when Trent Anderson, running for Hargens after the catcher started the frame with a double, scored on a wild pitch.
Neither could mount much of a threat through the remainder of the game as the heat visibly took its toll.
Jessen was forced from the mound due to the pitch count rule with one out remaining, and Webber stepped in to induce a quick grounder to Rock at second for the final out.
Sioux Central tallied 11 hits in the game, committed three errors and walked 11 times.
Saturday’s test against Garrigan will prove difficult as the Golden Bears hold a 21-12 record and finished the season with vote getter status in the final team rankings.