Cyclones punch ticket to Regional Championship
Braydon Ernst got the ball to start the night for the Cyclones. Ernst went three innings, struck out five batters, but gave up four runs on six hits, including three walks.
“Braydon got in a little bit of trouble when he walked their eight and nine hitter and put guys on base for their best hitter who hit a triple down the right field line to score a couple,” said Cyclones Head Coach Heath Stein.
Junior Cyclone Brock Lemrick took over in relief pitching four innings, giving up three hits and striking out three batters, helping lead the Cyclones to an 8-4 victory over the Storm Lake Tornadoes, punching their ticket to the 3A-8 Regional Championship Game.
“That was kind of why I pulled Braydon at that time and Brock came in,” Stein said. “Brock’s been in tough situations all year and came in and go us out of that inning and went on to dominate from there. I’m just happy for the guys. They’ve worked very hard throughout the year and I know nobody wants to be done yet, so hopefully we can continue to work hard and play some good baseball and get one more and see what happens in Iowa City.”
The Cyclones offense erupted for eight runs on the night, including multi-hit performances from Cade Sears, Cael Goshorn, Quinn Koesters, Stephen Leinen, Jozef Reisz and Matthew Sorfonden.
Sears also drove in three runs on one swing of the bat, including later hitting a home run.
“The guys put good at bats together,” Stein added. “Cade came up with a huge triple, clearing the bases and then he ended up hitting a ball out later in the game. Just a good approach by him. Landen [Kaufman] had a nice sacrifice fly to extend the lead.”
With this win, the Cyclones advance to the 3A-8 Championship Game Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Council Bluffs against the Lewis Central Titans. This will be the third game between the two as the Cyclones lost 14-4 at their field May 31 and then won 16-6 June 20 at home.
The Titans are led by Luke Woltmann batting .385 with 42 hits and 46 runs batted in. On the mound, Woltmann has seven wins in 42 2/3 innings pitched with a 3.12 earned run average, but Ty Thomson leads in strikeouts with 87.
According to Stein, Stephen Leinen will take the mound to start the game for the Cyclones. Stein expects the atmosphere to be crazy with rival schools battling each other for a chance to play in the state tournament.
“We’ve had good battles with Lewis Central the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s awesome to be in this spot to play them again and we anticipate a big crowd, intense moments, big pitches and big plays. We talked about how we need to not let the moment get to us and continue on our routine and our rhythms and our breathing to help slow the game down a bit.”