A BELIEVER YET?
FAST-STARTING LYNX TOPPLE 7TH-RANKED BOONE
BOONE — Standing shirtless in a pair of pants that were caked in dirt late Friday night at Memorial Park, Devon Stoakes seemed unfazed by his Webster City baseball team’s latest conquest.
Does it bother him that the Lynx are unranked in Class 3A despite a resume that appears to be well worth a nod? Nope, not in the least. In fact, he and his teammates thrive on the disrespect.
“I’d love to be unranked the entire season because it puts the chip on our shoulder,” Stoakes, the Lynx junior catcher, said. “We like being the underdog.”
It’s going to be harder for WCHS to stay under the radar though following its 7-6 victory over seventh-ranked (3A) Boone on Friday, and Stoakes was a big reason why the Lynx won for the 13th time in 14 outings.
His one-out line-drive base hit to center in the first inning seemed innocuous enough. At the time, he had no idea he’d get another chance to bat in the frame, or that he’d deliver a two-run single that would cap a seven-run flourish and put WCHS on the path to victory.
“Clearly that’s what won us the game because we got stagnant later,” Stoakes, who finished 3 for 3 at the dish, said. “Hits are contagious. It’s a simple rule of baseball, but it seems like that’s what gets us going.”
WCHS (13-1) rattled off six of its eight hits in the first inning off Boone hurler Evan Behn, and although things got dicey down the stretch, the Lynx were able to hang on for their most poignant win of the season.
“That’s a really good team we just beat and we know that,” Chase Rattenborg, who came on to pitch the sixth and seventh innings to collect the save, said. “That felt dang good.”
Boone (12-5) scored three runs in the fifth inning to close the gap and three more in the sixth to pull within one run, but Rattenborg slammed the door in the seventh when the Toreadors held all of the momentum.
Seven walks by Trey Lyons, Zach Dyvig and Rattenborg in the fifth and sixth innings allowed Boone to creep into contention despite just three hits during that span. But Rattenborg kept the seventh drama-free, as he struck out Parker Newcomb and Ben Craven, and then got Dylan England to pop up to Tyler Olson on the infield to close it out.
“I just wanted to throw strikes because I have the best defense in 3A behind me,” Rattenborg said. “I trust them to get the outs.”
He’s biased, but he’s not too far off the mark.
WCHS played error-free and made several plays in the middle innings that kept Boone off the scoreboard. Center fielder Connor Hanson made a leaping grab near the fence on a Morgan Smith shot in the fourth, and an inning later made a sliding catch in shallow center that saved at least two runs. Also in the fourth, second baseman Ty McKinney sprinted into shallow center and tracked down a two-out blooper by Craven with a runner on third.
Boone finished with six hits, two of them from Behn. He delivered a two-RBI single to right in the sixth to make it a one-run game.
Lyons picked up the win, as the senior right-hander went 41⁄3 innings. He allowed four hits and struck out two before handing the ball over to Dyvig with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Hanson had two hits, including the Lynx only extra-base hit — a third-inning double to center. Lyons, CJ Hisler and Beau Klaver all had one hit.
WCHS sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, and used timely hitting and patience to build the big lead. Behn walked three and hit one during the frame.
An infield single by Hisler plated the game’s first run, and Klaver followed with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to make it 2-0. A Rattenborg ground ball brought another run home, and then Lyons smoked a Behn offering back up the box for a two-run base hit.
WCHS had just one hit over the final four innings — a lead-off infield single by Stoakes in the sixth. Toreadors’ reliever Garrison Paul fanned four over two innings of work.
The celebration was short and rather subdued in right field afterward. WCHS expected to win, and now it’s on to the next one — a date with North Central Conference rival Clear Lake this evening.
“That’s going to be another good game and we’ll be ready,” Rattenborg said.
WCHS 7, Boone 6
Friday at Boone
WCHS 700 000 0 — 7 8 0
Boone 000 033 0 — 6 6 1
Trey Lyons, Zach Dyvig (5), Chase Rattenborg (6) and Devon Stoakes. Evan Behn, Garrison Paul (6) and Martin Smith. W — Lyons. L — Behn. S — Rattenborg. Multiple hits — WC: Stoakes (3), Connor Hanson; BO: Behn, Dylan England. 2B — WC: Hanson; BO: Ma. Smith. RBI — WC: Stoakes (2), Lyons (2), Rattenborg, CJ Hisler, Beau Klaver; BO: Behn (3), Tegan Bock, Parker Newcomb.