Knights earn title repeat at Cyclones’ expense
DES MOINES (July 28) -- With its top two pitchers unavailable, a lot of things had to go right for Harlan Community to have a shot in Saturday’s Class 3A state title game vs. Davenport Assumption.
Unfortunately for the Cyclones, almost everything went wrong in a one-sided 11-1, six-inning loss to the baseball juggernaut Knights at Principal Park.
Following two thrilling, come-from-behind state wins earlier in the week by one run each, HCHS never got untracked in the final, falling behind 6-0 after two innings and managing just three singles off Assumption junior ace Julien Broderson.
The top-seeded and third-ranked Knights took advantage of seven walks and three hit batsmen issued by Cyclone pitching and got a state championship game record five hits from junior leadoff man Nick Gottilla, who ended the game early with a two-run single.
Assumption (34-10), which also beat Harlan 10-1 in last year’s 3A title game, claimed its state-leading 11th state championship - including three in the last five years - and improved its unrivaled state tourney record to 37-5.
It was a disappointing end to another remarkable year for the second-seeded and top-ranked Cyclones, who finished 33-4 and have now gone 127-20 during four straight seasons ending in the state title game. They have made it to Des Moines eight years in a row, highlighted by the program’s third state title in 2016.
“It’s been the best five years of my life,” said HCHS senior Jared Moser, who made his first trip to state as an eighth grader. “It’s all we could ask for. We got to play on the last Saturday of the year.”
Four-sport standout Nick Foss, who will join the football team at Minnesota State in a few weeks, said he will always cherish his time as a Cyclone.
“It’s been really special to me, and playing here is always a good feeling,” he said.
“Somebody kind of put it into perspective for me before the game, (saying) ‘This is going to be your last game putting on a Cyclone jersey,’ and that means a lot to me. We wanted to play our best. Things just didn’t go good for us today.”
Foss added, “Everywhere in life I’ll go, I’ll always be a Cyclone.”
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