LYNX ERASE 4-RUN DEFICIT IN 7TH INNING, BEAT NEVADA ON OLSON’S WALK-OFF SINGLE
WEBSTER CITY — Tyler Olson was staring at several less-than-ideal milestones while he slowly walked to the plate as darkness enveloped Lynx Field Tuesday night.
First pitching loss in more than a year — 370 days, if you’re looking for an exact figure.
First pitching loss to a non-conference opponent. Ever.
Second pitching loss. Ever.
In some ways, he got himself into the jam. And in the end, he got himself out of it too.
Let’s set the scenario — Webster City trailed Nevada by a run, bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. And right on cue, Olson sent a first-pitch fastball from Cubs’ hurler Max Hoffman screaming into center field that brought Chase Rattenborg and Ty McKinney to the plate to give the Lynx an improbable come-from-behind 6-5 victory.
McKinney slid into the dish with the walk-off run and then immediately sprinted toward Olson, who was already being mobbed by his teammates near first base. It capped a five-hit, five-run seventh-inning rally, not bad considering WCHS had a grand total of two hits entering its final at bat.
“I was just looking for something to hit,” Olson, a 2019 Class 3A second-team all-state pitcher, said. “I asked coach (Adison) Kehoe if he wanted me to take (a pitch), but he said if it’s there, go for it.”
Furious finishes against Nevada have become the norm for Kehoe’s club. A year ago, the Lynx trailed 5-4 entering the seventh inning and then ripped off five runs for a 9-5 win. Tuesday night they fell behind 5-1 until the bats finally came alive late.
“Every game is important, but for whatever reason that intensity you need, (the players) reserve it for certain games, like conference games,” Kehoe said. “I haven’t pushed the right button yet.”
WCHS (5-3) had no answer for Nevada southpaw pitcher Carter Franzen through six innings. The ace of the Cubs’ staff was on cruise control through 18 outs, as he limited the Lynx to just two hits — a first-inning double by Devon Stoakes and a fourth-inning RBI single by Connor Hanson — over that stretch.
“He’s a nice little pitcher and we knew that going in,” Kehoe said of Franzen.
Franzen lost his grip on the contest in the seventh though, and a bit of bad luck played into his misfortune.
Sean Carver ignited the WCHS rally with a one-out single to center. CJ Hisler followed with a towering shot to right field, a routine play if the sun is shining. But Cubs’ outfielder Eli Nelson never saw it in the night sky, and Hisler easily glided into second with a stand-up double.
Instead of one on and two outs, Franzen was suddenly faced with two runners in scoring position and one out. And WCHS seized on the opportunity. Trey Lyons walked and Hanson delivered his second RBI single to trim the Lynx deficit to 5-2.
Franzen was forced to hand the ball off to Hoffman due to pitch count restrictions just as WCHS brought the top of the order up. Rattenborg greeted Hoffman with a line-drive double down the line in left that scored two to make it 5-4. Hanson attempted to knot the game moments later as he sprinted home on a wild pitch, but he was thrown out.
McKinney and Stoakes stayed patient and earned back-to-back walks, which set the stage for Olson to play the hero.
“This makes me feel good,” Olson said. “We don’t always show as much fire in these (non-conference) games, but we did in that seventh (inning) when we got all those hits.”
Kehoe said the explosive seventh inning is proof of his team’s maturity.
“That was the first game I’ve seen where it didn’t matter if it was a freshman or a junior, they weren’t looking left or right,” he said. “They all wanted to bat and that shows our growth from even two weeks ago. Now I’ve got kids who are looking to hit and get on base.”
Olson, who got the start on the mound, was on a strict 60-pitch limit, and Kehoe says that turned out to be a mental block.
“I probably shouldn’t have told him that he was only throwing 60 pitches because he was trying to be so sharp on every pitch,” Kehoe said. “That’s no excuse because with his caliber, I’ll never allow him to have excuses.”
Nevada (3-7) touched Olson for four hits over four innings, and the two runs it scored in the third were the first earned runs the WCHS junior has allowed this season.
“When they were hitting it, I was just leaving it right over the plate,” Olson, who struck out five, said. “I could have thrown it more inside or more outside, and I was spiking my curveball too much. But that will get better.”
Trey Lyons took over in the fifth and picked up the first win of his varsity career. He limited Nevada to three hits and two earned runs over three innings of work. He fanned two.
Colin Memmer and Gavin Melohn had two hits each for Nevada. Franzen struck out five over 61⁄3 innings, but he didn’t factor into the decision.
WCHS was at Clarion-Goldfield-Dows last night and will face fellow North Central Conference rival Hampton-Dumont/CAL back at Lynx Field Friday evening. It will be varsity only, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Webster City 6, Nevada 5
Tuesday at Webster City
Nevada 002 020 1 — 5 7 0
Web City 000 010 5 — 6 7 1
Carter Franzen, Max Hoffman (7) and Keaton Fry. Tyler Olson, Trey Lyons (5) and Devon Stoakes. WP — Lyons. LP — Hoffman. Multiple hits — NEV: Colin Memmer, Gavin Melohn; WC: Connor Hanson. 2B — WC: Stoakes, Chase Rattenborg, CJ Hisler. RBI — NEV: Memmer, Ty Dittmer; WC: Rattenborg (2), Olson (2), Hanson (2).