All in the family
Hackbarth brothers lead Lynx blowout
WEBSTER CITY — A Hackbarth was the Most Valuable Player Wednesday evening at Lynx Field. But which one?
There really isn’t a wrong answer to the question. Choose Max, a senior, or Nick, a sophomore, and you’ll get plenty of support for your conclusion. That’s how good they both were.
The Hackbarth brothers had their hands in everything, as they powered Webster City to a convincing 11-0, 5-inning shellacking of Hampton-Dumont in the North Central Conference opener for both teams.
Looking for a repeat league championship this season, the Lynx (3-1, 1-0 NCC) looked the part of favorites. Pitching, hitting, defense — it was all there and then some.
“This shows everyone in the conference that we’re the same team we were last year and we’re not messing around,” Max Hackbarth said afterwards.
The senior southpaw pitcher showed why he was an all-stater a season ago, as he pushed his personal winning streak to nine straight games on the bump. Hampton-Dumont (1-1, 0-1 NCC) managed just one hit — a lead-off single to left field by Wyatt Sutter in the third inning — and was baffled throughout by Max Hackbarth’s array of pitches.
After a shaky outing, by his standards anyway, in his debut against South Hamilton last week, Max Hackbarth was in command of his pitches against the Bulldogs. He worked ahead against 16 of the 17 batters he faced and fanned 12 to essentially give his defense the night off.
What was the difference between outing No. 1 and outing No. 2? He stayed within himself.
“Last week I was just overthrowing and trying to do too much when I didn’t need to,” Max Hackbarth said. “This week I just toned it down and if I can keep them guessing with four different pitches, it’s tough to hit.”
Hackbarth struck out the side in the second inning and again in the fourth. Seven of the final eight outs were strikeouts.
“It’s cliche, but that was the Max that everyone was expecting,” WCHS head coach Adison Kehoe said. “He was pretty frustrated with his outing (against South Hamilton) … he was pressing and white-knuckling it. But when he has all four pitches going like he did (on Wednesday), he’s pretty tough. When he’s up, especially 1-2 or 0-2, it’s kind of like pick your poison.”
But Max answered quickly when he was asked which Hackbarth had a greater impact on the game.
“Nick, definitely,” he said. “In big spots, he got it done.”
Yes he did.
Little brother and Lynx designated hitter went 2 for 3 with four RBI out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup. He blooped a one-out, two-run double into no man’s land in right-center in the second inning that opened the floodgate. In the sixth, Nick Hackbarth turned on a Drew Uhlenhopp offering and roped a single into left that plated two more runs.
“We just went out there with the mindset of having fun and relaxing,” Nick Hackbarth said. “There was no reason to be nervous.”
Relax — it was a word that Kehoe had on repeat for his batters, specifically Austin Lampman, who hit right in front of Nick Hackbarth out of the No. 8 hole. After hearing that word bellowed from his coach, Lampman proceeded to belt a single to left in the second and again in the sixth that scored two runs.
“Lampman was one that wanted me to scream that at him and if I have to scream it a couple more times to keep him hitting that way, that’s what I’m going to do,” Kehoe said. “The bottom of our order needs to continue to hit like that.”
Kehoe says keeping his team loose, something it wasn’t during the opening week, will be key moving forward.
“We had a long talk (on Tuesday) and I just said, ‘Boys, you need to get back to why the heck you’re out for baseball and that’s to have fun,'” Kehoe said. “It’s a long season and we’re out here because it’s a fun sport.”
They certainly had fun on Wednesday.
WCHS finished with nine hits. Jordan Tanner connected for two of them, including a double to straightaway center field that brought two runs to the dish in the second inning. Dylan Steen added a pair of hits out of the clean-up spot, and Romel Martinez had a base hit and scored three runs at the top of the order.
The Lynx will get back to work this evening on the road against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows at 7:30 p.m.
Webster City 11, H-Dumont 0 (5)
Wednesday at Webster City
H-Dumont 000 00 — 0 1 3
Webster City 140 6x — 11 9 0
Dustin Miller, Drew Uhlenhopp (4), Taylen Healey (4) and Zarek Mahler. Max Hackbarth and Jordan Tanner. W — M. Hackbarth. L — Miller. 2B — WC: Tanner, Nick Hackbarth. Multiple hits — WC: Tanner (2), N. Hackbarth (2), Dylan Steen (2), Austin Lampman (2). RBI — WC: N. Hackbarth (4), Tanner (3), Lampman (2), M. Hackbarth.