6-RUN ERUPTION IN FIRST CARRIES LYNX PAST ’DOGS
McKinney’s emotion a key to WCHS run
WEBSTER CITY — Ty McKinney smears eye black all over his cheeks prior to each baseball game. It’s his war paint, and his attitude between the lines matches the intensity in those eyes that the black goop protects.
Webster City has many talented players, but when it comes to the emotional heartbeat, you need look no further than McKinney. And he’s just a freshman.
“Ty McKinney is basically our emotion on the team,” WCHS head coach Adison Kehoe said following his team’s 9-2 rout of Algona in a Class 3A District 4 semifinal Friday night at Lynx Field. “He’s a little bit of the Energizer bunny and a lot of people call that cockiness, but my big thing is he’s confident. As a baseball player, when this game is 99 percent mental, I’ll take a confident kid every time.”
McKinney’s fire took center stage in the opening inning on Friday, as he dove across the plate head first with the game’s first run on a Tyler Olson RBI single, and then jawed at anyone that looked his way to get his team fired up.
WCHS blistered Algona pitcher Cameren Rindone for six first-inning runs, and with Olson on the bump for the Lynx, that was pretty much ballgame.
“Six runs — woo — we surprised ourselves with that,” McKinney, who went 1 for 2 and scored two runs out the No. 2 spot in the lineup, said. “We were amped right away.”
It was the eighth consecutive win for WCHS (12-3), which advanced to tonight’s district final against Boone (12-4) on the Toreadors’ home diamond. The Lynx have outscored their last eight opponents by 62 runs, 83-21.
The first-inning onslaught featured four hits, two of which found the gaps for extra bases. Sean Carver took a first-pitch belt-high fastball from Rindone and sent it on a ride to left for a two-RBI double that upped the lead to 3-0.
Carver stepped to the plate thinking patience, but quickly altered his plan.
“Rindone is, by nature, curveball, curveball, curveball,” Carver, who finished 1 for 3, said. “So I was going up there thinking to look at a first-pitch curveball, but he gave it to me right there and you can’t look at that.
“Baseball is very psychological. If you can put up a crooked number like that in the first inning, it just shuts them down.”
CJ Hisler kept the train rolling just moments after Carver’s shot, only he went to the opposite field. Had the wind not been blowing in from right, Hisler would have been trotting around the bases. Instead, he settled for a two-RBI triple and a 5-0 edge. And with Trey Lyons’ RBI single just a few pitches later, WCHS had built a 6-0 cushion.
The runs were nice, but it was the emotion displayed that peaked Kehoe’s interest.
“In districts, you cannot show up in the fourth inning,” he said. “What I challenged the kids with was the first pitch offensively and first pitch defensively, being a vocal and intense team, and they did that. When they bring that emotion and intensity, they’re fun to watch.”
A Devon Stoakes RBI single in the second increased the lead to 7-0. Algona (7-10) put up two in the fourth inning to close to within 7-2, but WCHS matched the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the frame. Beau Klaver was walked with the bases loaded to push one across, and two batters later Hisler turned on the jets and beat out an infield single to score another run.
Hisler paced the Lynx offense; he went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Chase Rattenborg and Stoakes both had two hits as well, as WCHS finished with 10 on the night.
The early scoring frenzy also allowed Kehoe to prepare for the next round. He pulled Olson off the mound after 42⁄3 innings and 63 pitches so that he’d be available to take the mound against Boone this evening. Olson, who improved to 6-0 on the season, was perfect through three innings and was touched for just two hits and one earned run. He struck out eight.
Chase Rattenborg took over with two outs in the fifth and finished Algona off. He fanned three and also allowed just two hits.
Andrew Hamilton had two hits for the Bulldogs, including an RBI single to center in the fourth. Rindone, who entered the contest with an ERA under 3, took the loss after lasting just two innings. He was on the hook for six earned runs.
WCHS did no celebrating after the game. In fact, it was quickly on to the next opponent, a Boone team that handed the Lynx a 4-1 loss on June 18. The Toreadors advanced out of Friday’s semifinal round with an 8-1 win over Hampton-Dumont/CAL.
Even as the underdog, WCHS has plenty of confidence.
“That’s a big game,” McKinney said. “Chase pitched really well that first time and we lost 4-1, but Tyler is the best pitcher in 3A. Anytime we go into a game, especially with Tyler, we know we have a good chance to win.”
Kehoe doesn’t know what will happen, but he likes where is team is at mentally entering the showdown.
“We shouldn’t be favored to win that game, but I’d say our mental edge will be on par with who we have on the mound,” he said.
The winner of Monday’s District 3 final will advance to Wednesdays substate round against either sixth-ranked Gilbert or Humboldt.
Webster City 9, Algona 2
Class 3A District 4 Semifinal
Friday at Webster City
Algona 000 200 0 — 2 4 1
Web City 610 200 x — 9 10 2
Cameren Rindone, Aaron Weringa (3) and Wyatt Streit. Tyler Olson, Chase Rattenborg (5) and Devon Stoakes. WP — Olson. LP — Rindone. Multiple hits — ALG: Andrew Hamilton; WC: Rattenborg, Stoakes, CJ Hisler. 2B — WC: Sean Carver. 3B — WC: Hisler. RBI — ALG: Hamilton; WC: Hisler (3), Carver (2), Stoakes, Olson, Beau Klaver, Trey Lyons.