Free passes let Monarchs snap 28-game slide against Cyclones

 DENISON (June 3) -- The Harlan Community baseball team outhit Denison-Schleswig 9-4 on Thursday night and did not commit an error on defense.
 The story of the game, however, was Denison’s 19 free bases courtesy of a combined 14 walks, one hit batter, three wild pitches and a balk issued by three Cyclone pitchers.
 The Monarchs, who trailed 3-1 after two innings, tied things up with two runs in the fourth and scored four more in the fifth while putting just one ball in play. They eventually finished off the Cyclones 8-5 to snap an incredible 28-game losing streak in the series, beating Harlan for the first time since an opening round Class 3A district game in July, 2009.
 HCHS dropped to 2-4 overall and 2-3 in Hawkeye Ten Conference play while D-S improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the league.
 First-year Cyclone head coach Heath Stein noted that the team’s inability to throw strikes was very concerning Thursday and wants his pitchers to be more aggressive in the zone.
 “We really cannot afford to give them so many free bases,” Stein said. “We need to do a better job of throwing the ball where we want it and trying to induce contact early in the count from our opponents. If we can do this it will keep our pitch counts down and create a much better flow and pace to the game.”
 The game started out well for the Cyclones, who plated a pair of first-inning runs on Kelby Lasher’s two-out, two-RBI single. They made it 3-1 in the second when Ben Muenchrath and Joey Moser - who both walked - executed a double steal that turned into a run when the catcher’s throw to third ended up in left field.
 HCHS would not score again until adding single runs in the sixth and the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Isaiah Ahrenholtz and a run-scoring wild pitch.
 Lasher and Austin Schumacher led the Cyclones with two hits each while Moser, Ahrenholtz and Muenchrath all walked twice. Moser and Muenchrath, who scored twice, both added a pair of stolen bases.
 Franz Reisz started on the mound for HCHS and took a no-decision, allowing two hits and three runs in three and two-thirds innings. He walked five and struck out four.
 Moser (0-1) took the loss after battling his control during the Monarchs’ four-run fifth. He walked five and hit a batter in two-thirds of an inning. Denison sent 10 hitters to the plate in the fifth and only one put the ball in play on Nathan Gallup’s fly out. The inning included six walks, a hit-batsman, a run-scoring wild pitch and two strikeouts between Moser and reliever Quinn Koesters.
 Overall, the Monarchs scored five runs on bases-loaded walks. Braiden Heiden had an RBI single in the first and Gallup opened the sixth with a solo homer.
 Of Denison’s 14 walks, eight were issued to the 7-8-9 batters in the lineup.
 D-S senior Evan Turin pitched six innings for the win, allowing nine hits and four runs (three earned). He walked five and had five strikeouts.

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