Kasperbauer shutout gets Cyclones back to .500
HARLAN (June 29) -- Teagon Kasperbauer pitched a five-hit shutout for his fourth win of the season and the Harlan Community baseball team put together several solid at-bats during a four-run third inning Tuesday night, beating Carroll 5-0 in non-conference action.
The Tigers (10-13 overall) left the bases loaded in the top of the first and stranded two runners each in the third, fifth and seventh as Kasperbauer (4-2) calmly worked out of trouble throughout the game to preserve his second shutout.
The sophomore right-hander continues pitching to contact as he had just two walks and two strikeouts. Carroll hit very few balls with authority and Kasperbauer was able to overcome four errors behind him.
“Teagon kind of pitched himself in and out of some jams, and really he was executing three pitches tonight - fastball, curveball and changeup - so he made some big pitches when he had to,” stated HCHS head coach Heath Stein.
“I think [Carroll had] two semi-hard-hit balls in the last inning; other than that I think they maybe squared up two or three throughout the night.”
The Cyclones (11-11) put together three of their five hits during the pivotal four-run third.
Joey Moser set the tone with a long, tough at-bat, falling behind in the count 0-2 before fouling off several good pitches and finally beating out an infield single. After stealing second base, Moser scored on Quinn Koesters’ RBI single and Isaiah Ahrenholtz followed with a good at-bat of his own, lacing an RBI double to the gap in left-center to make it 2-0.
Luke Musich and Kelby Lasher both reached on infield errors in the inning - Lasher’s ball allowed the fourth run to score - and Alex Monson’s grounder up the middle earned him an RBI as the Tiger shortstop made a great play to get the force at second.
The theme for the inning was finding a way to put the ball in play and making Carroll play defense. Tiger ace Slade Sibenaller was relieved for after allowing five hits and four runs (two earned) in just three frames.
“We strung together probably six good at-bats in that inning, starting with (Moser). Deep in counts, battling, getting the ball in play, getting pressure on with our speed, and then when we had guys on base we were aggressive earlier in counts to put good swings on (and) drive them in,” Stein noted.
HCHS added one insurance run in the fifth when Musich, Monson and Ben Muenchrath all drew walks and Musich scored on a wild pitch.
Musich and Muenchrath both had singles to round out Harlan’s hit total. Sibenaller led Carroll by going 2-for-3 with a base-on-balls. The Tigers were not able to score despite being successful on all five of their stolen base attempts.
Tuesday’s victory allowed the Cyclones to get back to the .500 mark (11-11) for the first time since they were 2-2 on June 1. They are also above .500 in conference play following a slow start.
“Early on, I told them not to look at the record, not to look at their stats, not to look at stuff like that. Just realize it’s a process,” Stein said.
“We just kind of talk week by week. I probably sound like a broken record to them, but last week was our best week and we’re trending in the right direction for this to be our best week, so hopefully that continues Thursday and then we keep building at the right time.”
Thursday’s long trip to Clarinda for a varsity doubleheader will start a theme for the final two weeks of regular-season play. The Cyclones have just two home games left - Monday night vs. St. Albert and Tuesday vs. Dallas Center-Grimes - then road trips to ADM, Le Mars and two to Council Bluffs.
“We’ve got some hauls to finish out the season,” Stein said, “and there’s some pretty quality opponents in all of them so it will be good for us.”
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