NO DOUBT NOW
LYNX FINISH PERFECT IN NCC, CALL THEMSELVES CHAMPS
IOWA FALLS — Tyler Olson wants that trophy and he thinks he and his Webster City baseball teammates deserve it.
But what if the Lynx don’t receive it? Oh well.
“Even if they don’t give us a trophy or crown us a champion, we’re conference champions,” Olson, Webster City’s junior all-state pitcher, said. “That’s how I’m taking it.”
He’s not wrong.
Backed by a 10-run explosion in the fifth inning, WCHS wrapped up a perfect North Central Conference campaign with a 14-0, 5-inning throttling of Iowa Falls-Alden (1-5, 0-4 NCC) on Monday at Cadet Field. It was the Lynx seventh straight victory and it solidified their position at the top of the league standings.
Whether or not WCHS (11-3, 6-0 NCC) will be recognized as the NCC champion is still up in the air. Because St. Edmond and Iowa Falls-Alden both endured 14-day suspensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only one school (Algona) was able to compete the round-robin format. WCHS missed only one game against St. Edmond, while runner-up Humboldt missed two contests.
Still, hypothetically speaking, at worst the Lynx would have suffered one loss had it played and fell to St. Edmond. So, yeah, WCHS will consider itself champions of the league for the second straight season and third time in the last four years.
“For the next year, anybody can say anything they want, but we’re champions,” WCHS head coach Adison Kehoe said
There was no celebrating afterwards on Monday, though. This was only one step in a season that has bigger goals than a league crown, Olson said.
“It’s not like we were jacked about it because we have more to do, but it definitely does feel like a conference title,” Olson said.
In reality, Monday’s tussle was over the moment Chase Rattenborg lined a two-RBI double down the line in left in the third inning. That 2-0 lead was all Olson needed, as the Cadets had no chance against the talented right-hander who improved to 16-1 all-time and lowered his career ERA to 0.65.
Olson retired the first 11 batters he faced and was perfect through 32⁄3 until Dylan Madden broke it up with a two-out single to center. Olson, who peppered the strike zone all night, then sat down the final four batters for a one-hit gem that included nine strikeouts.
Olson said he was feeling a bit selfish. He was on a 60-pitch limit with Rattenborg set to take over in relief once he reached that threshold.
“I didn’t want to give Chase any time,” Olson said while smiling. “It felt good out there.”
It took the WCHS bats a few innings to come to life, but once they did it was game over. Trey Lyons and Connor Hanson lit the fire with back-to-back singles to open the third, and Rattenborg’s shot put the Lynx in front for good. Ty McKinney followed Rattenborg with a fourth consecutive hit — an RBI single to left — to increase the lead to 3-0.
CJ Hisler added to the lead in the fourth with a two-out triple to right-center, and he scored moments later on a Lyons RBI single to center.
“The second time around, we made the adjustments and that’s the team we’ve been the last couple of weeks,” Kehoe said.
The marathon fifth inning featured three different IF-A pitchers, five walks, a plunked batter, a pair of Cadet errors and four WCHS hits. McKinney had two RBIs in the frame, while Rattenborg, Hisler and Sean Carver all plated one.
Courtesy runner Skyler Scott pulled off the improbable too in the fifth when he stole home.
“Once you get one or two hits in an inning, they just keep coming,” Olson said. “Everybody feeds off each other.”
WCHS finished with 11 hits. Rattenborg and McKinney combined to go 3 for 6 with six RBIs at the top of the order. Olson and Lyons both cranked out a pair of singles.
WCHS will open up the postseason on Friday with a Class 3A District 4 semifinal against league rival Algona (7-8) at Lynx Field. The first pitch is set for 7 p.m. The winner will advance to Monday’s district final in Boone against either Boone or Hampton-Dumont/CAL.
WCHS dropped Algona twice during the regular season, 7-6 and 15-5 in 5 innings.
Webster City 14, IF-A 0 (5 inn)
Monday at Iowa Falls
Web City 003 1(10) — 14 11 0
IF-Alden 000 0 0 — 0 1 3
Tyler Olson and Devon Stoakes. Landon Lettow, Carter Arends (4), Dylan Madden (5), Zack Huffman (5) and Sam Off. WP — Olson. LP — Lettow. Multiple hits — WC: Olson, Ty McKinney, Trey Lyons. 2B — WC: Chase Rattenborg. 3B — WC: CJ Hisler. RBI — WC: Rattenborg (3), McKinney (3), Olson, Hisler, Lyons, Sean Carver.