WEBSTER CITY - Oh, what might have been.
Webster City baseball coach Seth McGrane teetered between differing opinions following his team's North Central Conference doubleheader against league-leader and fifth-ranked (Class 1A) Algona Bishop Garrigan Friday evening at Lynx Field.
On one hand, he was pleased - for the most part - with his team's effort and execution. On the other hand, he knows the Lynx had the prize fighter on the ropes, but they just couldn't land the knockout punch.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior Caleb Crouthamel (front) is tagged out by Bishop Garrigan third baseman Zach Keith as he slides down the line while trying to go from first to third on a hit during Game 1 of a North Central Conference doubleheader at Lynx Field on Friday. No. 5 (Class 1A) Garrigan swept the series, 7-5 and 6-2.
Garrigan (29-6, 15-1 NCC) rallied from a two-run deficit to take Game 1, 7-5, and the Golden Bears completed the sweep with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap.
Garrigan has won 15 consecutive games since its last loss to No. 5 (2A) Iowa City Regina, 11-5, on June 9. WCHS (5-18, 2-13 NCC) - losers of six straight - had its chance to end that run in the opener, but a string of costly base-running blunders left the door cracked open, and the Golden Bears plowed on through.
"It was a great effort from the kids, but if we had done three or four things better we would have come out of here with a split," McGrane said. "Nobody wants to just play well ... the bottom line is we went 0-4 this week. I'm not satisfied with it and the kids aren't satisfied with it."
Webster City112 100 0-5 10 3
Bishop Garrigan201 112 x-7 13 1
Jonny Davis, Ben Mossman (6) and Doug Stoakes. Andrew McGuire, Reece Wadle (6) and Alex Boisjolie. W-Wadle. L-Davis. 2B-WC: Davis, Garrett Gourley; BG: John Burns. HR-BG: Zach Keith. RBI-WC: Gourley (2), Trey Tesdahl, Dylan Fielder, Sam Mossman; BG: Keith (3), McGuire (2), Austin Vaske.
Bishop Garrigan002 021 1-6 6 1
Webster City100 010 0-2 3 3
Jake Kollasch, Reece Wadle (5) and Zach Keith. Trey Tesdahl, Dylan Fielder (5) and John Ferrell. W-Kollasch. L-Tesdahl. 2B-BG: Alex Boisjolie. HR-BG: Austin Vaske. RBI-BG: Boisjolie (2), John Burns (2), Andrew McGuire, Vaske; WC: Jonny Davis, Doug Stoakes.
The two teams combined to smack 23 hits in Game 1 - 13 for Garrigan, 10 for WCHS. The nail in the Lynx coffin was a one-out two-run home run by Zach Keith in the last half of the sixth - a shot to left field that was a no-doubter from the moment it left his bat, and it broke up a 5-5 tie.
Lynx senior pitcher Jonny Davis worked into the sixth, giving up 11 hits to the salty Garrigan lineup. He was pulled in favor of sophomore Ben Mossman, who two batters into his stint left a fastball over the fat part of the plate for Keith.
Davis, who took the loss, struck out three and walked just one. Two of Garrigan's runs were unearned.
"Jon is a great leader and he did a great job for us," McGrane said. "From top to bottom, (Garrigan) hits the ball really well. Jon threw a lot on Monday and he got by on guts (Friday night) and kept us in the ballgame."
WCHS put two runners aboard with no outs in the seventh, but Garrigan right fielder Dustin Miller made a diving catch on a blooper off the bat of Mossman, and Miller fired to first to double off Garrett Gourley to take the steam out of the Lynx rally.
It was one of four instances in which WCHS was cut down on the bases. In the second inning, Nelson Ball got caught too far off first following a base hit and was thrown out; in the third, Caleb Crouthamel was gunned down trying to go from first to third; and in the fifth, Sam Mossman was picked off second base.
"We had a few mistakes on the bases and we left guys on base (12 in Game 1, including the bases loaded twice and a total of seven in scoring position), otherwise we come out of there with one game," McGrane said.
Gourley and Sam Mossman both went 2-for-3 in the opener. Mossman collected an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the first, and Gourley uncorked a two-RBI double to center in the third to give WCHS a 4-2 lead.
Trey Tesdahl and Dylan Fielder also lined RBI singles to left off Golden Bears' starter Andrew McGuire. Davis added a double into the gap in left-center in the fourth that translated into a run, and Crouthamel and Doug Stoakes both singled.
Reece Wadle took over for McGuire in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings to secure the win. He walked three and hit one batter, but he didn't give up a hit.
Austin Vaske smoked a solo home run that just crept over the fence in left-center in the sixth inning of Game 2 to help propel Garrigan to the sweep. Alex Boisjolie roped a double and drove in two runs, and John Burns piled up a pair of RBIs as well.
Tesdahl got the start on the bump, and Fielder came on in relief in the fifth. They combined to surrender just six hits.
But the WCHS bats were kept silent for long stretches of the nightcap by Garrigan starter Jake Kollasch, and Wadle again took center stage - this time in the fifth - to help hammer down the win. They gave up a combined three hits.
Ball went 2-for-2 at the top of the Lynx order, and Davis reached on an infield hit to go along with an RBI. Stoakes also drove in a run.
WCHS will go from one ranked team to another, as it will travel to Clear Lake today to take on the fourth-ranked (3A) Lions, who sit just one game behind Garrigan in the conference standings. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.