No. 1 Knights leave no doubt
BANCROFT ó No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Newman Catholic from Mason City wasted little time claiming their 22nd overall and 11th straight trip to the state tournament Tuesday night, racking up 16 runs in the first inning against Sioux Central in substate play.
The rest of the game went scoreless as the Rebels ended the season with a record of 17-11 by a final score of 16-0.
Newmanís Evan Paulus took the bump in the top of the first, sitting the Rebels down in order on nine pitches with a groundout and back-to-back swinging strike threes.
Josh Fitzgerald then got the offense going for the Knights in the first with a rope to third base for an infield hit. Rebel starter Chase Jessen then got a fly out to Blake Cavanaugh in center field before running into trouble.
A walk followed by an error made it 2-0. Then the bases loaded due to a hit batter and walk, setting up a double to right to make it 4-0.
Newman then saw five straight batters reach base due to being hit or walks, ticking the score to 8-0.
Sioux Central coach Jeff Scharn then brought Caden Webber to the mound, but a wild pitch and single to right moved the score to 11-0 before he got the second out of the frame via strikes.
Newman then worked counts much the same way, putting two more on with a bean ball on the the seventh pitch of an at bat and a walk.
A double moved the scoreboard to 14-0 before an additional single and double made it 16-0.
Scharn then asked Trace Blomberg to toe the rubber, and the Rebel senior managed to escape the frame due to a fly out after walk.
Ben Hargens spoiled Paulusís perfect game in the second by drawing a walk on seven pitches, but courtesy runner Trent Anderson was left on first due to a strikeout and caught foul ball.
Blomberg saw just four batters in the second, walking one.
Keaton Lindner then gave Sioux Central a leadoff runner in the third, reaching on an error by the Newman shortstop.
However, a fielderís choice to second was followed by a one-six double play with the tag at second.
Again, Blomberg faced just four Knights in the third, hitting one.
Sioux Central put two runners on in the fourth with a leadoff walk drawn by Jessen and Jake Hanson being hit.
Jessen reached third after a fielderís choice but was left there when a pop out and strikeout ended the game.
Newman hit safely six times and walked nine. They also had four batters get plunked. Sioux Central was held hitless, walked twice and struck out six times.
The Knights will be the No. 1 seed when they begin state tournament play at 11 a.m. Friday in Des Moines against Tri-Center, Neola.