Kohles, Sears go the distance as Cyclones sweep Falcons
HARLAN (June 26) -- There were plenty of positives to go around Tuesday night as the Harlan Community baseball team swept a doubleheader from St. Albert and all but put a vice grip on its second consecutive Hawkeye Ten championship.
Facing the toughest part of a demanding six-game, four-day stretch, the 2nd-ranked (3A) Cyclones got two complete-game pitching performances from juniors Riley Kohles and Brett Sears to beat the 7th-ranked (1A) Falcons 7-4 and 10-2.
Offensively, HCHS held its own against two hard-throwing St. Albert hurlers, hitting a pair of long balls (Ryan Doran, Nick Foss) against previously-unbeaten Garret Reisz and using some small ball vs. Carson Kress. In the two games combined, the Cyclones finished with a modest 12 hits but were able to draw 14 walks - plus six hit batsmen - while striking out just five times.
HCHS did not commit a single error in either game and allowed seven total hits in holding the Falcons’ high-scoring attack in check.
Extending their winning streak to 16 games, the Cyclones improved to 18-2 overall and 16-0 in the Hawkeye Ten and now hold a three-game edge in the loss column on second-place Lewis Central. St. Albert, which started the night with a chance to overtake Harlan in the standings, dropped to 20-7 overall and 12-3 in the H-10.
Kohles (3-1) turned the most challenging assignment of his young varsity pitching career into his best game yet, working all seven innings in 100 pitches. He allowed five hits and four runs, including Jake Hubbard’s go-ahead two-run homer in the second, but issued just three walks (and hit two batters) while striking out three.
Reisz (5-1) had allowed just one earned run in 27 innings prior to Tuesday but didn’t make it to the fourth against the Cyclones, walking five and striking out four in three frames.
The night cap was only close for about two innings as the Cyclones opened up a 7-0 lead by scoring six times in the bottom of the third off Kress (3-3), who issued seven free passes in a three-inning stint.
Sears (6-0, 1.53 ERA) took care of the rest, pitching a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts while walking two and hitting a batter. His only mistake was leaving a changeup in the zone for Reisz to hammer over the fence in right-center for his seventh homer (a two-run shot) in the fourth.
The Cyclone 5-6-7 hitters came up big in game two as Luke Schaben, Foss and Logan Klaassen combined to go 5-for-5 with four walks, four runs, four RBI and four stolen bases.
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