Schnathorst’s dazzling display not enough, Lynx fall to Boone
WEBSTER CITY – Sliding in on a shallow pop-up, racing into the gap and laying out for a liner and then sprinting into the other gap and diving once again for a hard-hit ball, Webster City center fielder Ty Schnathorst was a one-man human highlight film at Lynx Field Tuesday night.
He made the spectacular seem mundane by the time the lights were dimmed.
But it was the simple plays that cost WCHS dearly.
The Lynx made just two mistakes on the infield, but eighth-ranked (Class 3A) Boone jumped on both and scored four unearned runs to get by the Lynx, 6-1.
It was the end of a mostly frustrating regular season for WCHS (6-17), but there were some positives for head coach Mark Fisher and his players to take into the postseason.
“From a standpoint of where we’ve been, it was much better and something we can carry into the tournament,” Fisher said. “I thought we pitched well for the most part and offensively we had much better swings.”
Boone owned an 8-7 hits advantage and the Toreadors (25-6) received a complete-game effort from right-handed pitcher Jackson Hull. He only struck out two, but also offered up just one walk.
Boone capitalized on the Lynx first error to score the go-ahead run for a 2-1 advantage in the fourth inning. The visitors added three more runs off the second miscue to push the margin to 5-1 in the sixth.
“The few defensive mistakes we made led to the runs and that’s what good teams do, they make you pay for those,” Fisher said. “They’re a good team; they hit the ball hard and they put it in play, and you can see how that makes a difference.”
The bright side was Schnathorst’s dazzling display in the outfield. He made a sliding catch in shallow center on a fly ball to end the third inning, robbed Dresden Wilson of an extra-base hit with his first diving snag in the fifth and then saved at least two more runs with his inning-ending full-layout catch in right-center in the sixth.
“He’s been big for us all year in center and we knew going in there was a chance that he was going to be a good center fielder,” Fisher said of Schnathorst. “He’s got phenomenal speed out there, he’s a phenomenal athlete and he plays with that absolute zeal and fearlessness and that’s what you want.”
WCHS also turned a pair of double plays in key spots. Shortstop Romel Martinez and second baseman Noah McKinney got the 6-4-3 in the fourth, and then Martinez showed off his hops to snare a liner off the bat of Hull in the fifth and he quickly flipped the ball to McKinney at second to double off Danny Andersen.
Cameron Moen suffered the loss on the bump for the Lynx. The sophomore right-hander went 4 1/3 innings and allowed six hits and one earned run. Caleb Olson and Dylan Steen worked a combined 2 2/3 innings of relief. The three hurlers managed just two strikeouts against Boone’s potent lineup.
Steen paced the WCHS offense with a 2 for 3 effort out of the clean-up spot. He turned on a Hull fastball and yanked it down the left-field line in the first inning and then beat out an infield single in the sixth.
The Lynx scored their only run in the third inning. McKinney led-off the frame by reaching on an error and he eventually moved over to third on a Martinez bloop base hit into left. Schnathorst followed with a towering fly ball to center for the RBI sacrifice fly.
WCHS had its chances and hit the ball hard in spots. Corey Wagner belted a one-out shot that one-hopped off the fence in left for a stand-up double in the fourth, but he was left stranded. Schnathorst, Jordan Tanner and Cole Reigelsberger all added singles.
“We had a lot of hard hit balls right at guys,” Fisher said. “We hadn’t been hitting the ball very hard for a while and that’s what we’ve been focusing on.”
Tanner Schminke went 2 for 3 with a RBI out of the No. 2 hole for Boone. Alex Carey drove in two runs on a fielder’s choice ground ball and a sac fly to center.
WCHS will now turn its attention to Friday’s 3A District 3 semifinal against Algona (20-10) on the Bulldogs home field. The contest is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will follow the first semifinal between Humboldt and Iowa Falls-Alden.