GAME, SEASON OVER
Toreadors show Lynx the door with 7-run outburst late
WEBSTER CITY — Tyler Olson is a pitcher who lives at the knees. He nibbles at the outside corner until that part of the plate is a gnarled mess too.
It’s how the Webster City junior won 11 straight decisions over a 13-month period and put together one of the finest resumes for a pitcher in Class 3A.
But what happens when that low strike is no longer a strike? What’s the result when that outside corner is suddenly off limits?
Olson spent 52⁄3 frustrating innings dealing with a tighter and tight strike zone during Monday’s Class 3A District 4 Final against Boone, and one pitch in particular will haunt him and Lynx head coach Adison Kehoe for months whenever they think about the Toreadors’ 11-4 victory that sent them to the substate and eliminated WCHS from the postseason.
Here’s the scene: Tied at 4 in the bottom of the sixth, two outs, runners at first and second with a full count on Boone’s Evan Behn. Olson ripped the outside corner with a fastball and was two steps toward the dugout when the pitch was called a ball.
It was almost 30 minutes later when WCHS (12-4) finally made it to the dugout, as Boone (13-4) scored seven runs with two outs to turn a nail-biter into a runaway.
“I’ll let Tyler hit that spot and I’ll live with the result every single time,” Kehoe said, choosing his words carefully. “I’ll just say it was frustrating.”
Olson also attempted to stay diplomatic after he lost for the first time since June 26, 2019.
“I thought it was a very tight (strike) zone and I had to adjust, but obviously I guess I couldn’t,” he said. “I tried to come more inside to cover more of the plate and it still wasn’t called. But that’s just how it goes and you’ve got to live with it.”
Following the walk to Behn, Dylan Bangs hit a high chopper just over the head of WCHS third baseman Chase Rattenborg that brought two runs to the plate to put Boone in front for good. Olson was forced to leave the mound following Bangs’ hit due to pitch count limitations; he was tagged with four earned runs, which matched the total he’d given up all season and the most in a single game in his career, to go along with five strikeouts.
Rattenborg took over, but was unable to get an out. Two walks, an errors and three base hits allowed the Toreadors to pad the lead and make any potential WCHS rally pretty much moot.
Trey Lyons relieved Rattenborg and threw one pitch — a fastball that Parker Newcomb hit to right fielder Sean Carver for the final out in a long, long … long inning.
But WCHS had more problems than just the strike zone. The Lynx connected for just two hits, one of which was an infield single by Rattenborg to lead off the game. They struck out nine times, they stranded eight base runners, three of them in scoring position, and they committed three errors that led to seven unearned runs.
“We missed five different signs, we didn’t score with guys in scoring position, there were errors … in a district final game, you can’t do those things and expect to beat a team the caliber of Boone,” Kehoe said after his club’s eight-game winning streak ended.
The contest was littered with miscues. Boone committed six errors and issued seven walks, which led to all of the Lynx runs. Rattenborg and courtesy runner Keegan Hisler touched the plate in the first after an error on a Carver line drive to give WCHS a 2-0 lead.
The Lynx extended their edge to 4-1 in the fifth with two more unearned runs following a CJ Hisler ground ball that was booted. Boone pulled even in the last half of the fifth courtesy of a pair of two-out errors and an RBI double down the line by Morgan Smith.
Ten of the Toreadors’ 11 runs were scored with two outs.
“We need to get better in the offseason,” Olson said. “We have to get better to beat teams like Boone and every team on our schedule next year.”
Ty McKinney was the only WCHS player to lace a hit into the grass. He turned on a pitch and roped it down the line in left to lead off the fifth.
Here’s the good news though — the Lynx team that went unbeaten in the North Central Conference to win its second straight league championship will return intact next summer. And the possibilities of what comes next were already on Kehoe’s mind even before the dugout had been cleared out Monday night.
“To do all the things we accomplished this year with no offseason and two weeks of practice, that shows the talent, character and work ethic that those guys all have,” he said. “I think this team, next year and the ensuing years, will have some bigger expectations than just winning conference.”
Boone advanced to tonight’s Substate 2 Final against sixth-ranked Gilbert (20-3) in Gilbert. The winner will qualify for next week’s state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines.
Boone 11, Webster City 4
Class 3A District 4 Final
Monday at Boone
Web City 200 020 0 — 4 2 3
Boone 001 037 x — 11 9 6
Tyler Olson, Chase Rattenborg (6), Trey Lyons (6) and Devon Stoakes. Matthew Mills, Morgan Smith (6) and Dylan Bangs. WP — Smith. LP — Olson. Multiple hits — BO: Parker Newcomb. 2B — BO: Smith, Sam Freund. RBI — BO: Bangs (3), Smith, Tegan Bock, Ben Craven, Ryan Hulse.