HAWKS RUN INTO HOT BAT, RIGHT ARM OF FABER
No. 1 Norsemen advance to substate, SH ends season at 19-6
STORY CITY — Carter Hewitt had faith right up until the final pitch, that’s how confident the South Hamilton senior was in his team, the program’s best in a generation, Saturday night at Norsemen Field.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thought we were going to claw back and win it,” Hewitt said. “I didn’t think it was going to end (Saturday night).”
But sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opponent, or in this case an individual player.
It was Nolan Faber’s night, and there was nothing South Hamilton could do about it.
Faber, a senior right-handed pitcher and lead-off hitter for top-ranked Roland-Story, handed South Hamilton a world of hurt in the Class 2A District 5 final when went the Norsemen’s way, 3-0. Faber twirled a complete-game two-hitter with 10 strikeouts on the mound, and also went 3 for 3 with a double, two-run home run, two RBIs and two runs scored at the plate.
It was the first time that South Hamilton (19-6) was shutout this season. It’s lowest offensive output prior was in an 8-3 loss to PCM on June 11, but on Saturday it had only four base runners and just one that reached third base, that coming in the seventh inning.
Faber challenged the Hawks with heat up in the zone, and too often they simply couldn’t catch up. He also sprinkled in enough curveballs to keep the hitters guessing.
And when South Hamilton did connect? Too often, the ball went right at the defense. Brock Galetich twice drilled deep shots to center field, but Roland-Story’s Ajay Twedt was in position to make the plays. In the second inning, Hewitt sent a moon ball to the warning track n center, but it too was caught.
“He was throwing a lot of high fastballs and he spotted his curve a lot better than in the past,” Hewitt said of Faber. “We hit the ball pretty well I thought, but it was just going right to them and there’s nothing you can do about that.”
It was a vastly different offensive performance than when South Hamilton touched Faber for six hits and three runs over four innings en route to a 7-3 victory on June 7.
“Two hits, that’s not going to win too many ballgames,” South Hamilton head coach Kyle Galetich said.
Roland-Story (30-5) had just six hits off Hawks’ hurler Brock Galetich, who also went the distance. Faber and Thomas Matthes accounted for five of them.
Faber broke up the scoreless affair in the third inning. Following a lead-off walk to Steven Berends, Faber sent a waist-high fastball flying over the fence in center for a two-run home run.
“That was on me,” Kyle Galetich said. “(Brock Galetich) wanted off-speed and I called a fastball, and I probably should have listened to him. But that home run wasn’t a backbreaker at all, we just didn’t hit the ball.”
Roland-Story added an insurance run in the fifth and, again, Faber keyed the flurry. He roped a lead-off double into the gap in left-center and scored two batters later on an infield hit off the bat of Calvin Carew.
Brock Galetich, a senior, walked just one and fanned three batters in his final prep game.
Roland-Story will now face New Hampton (18-15) on Tuesday in Mason City for the right to advance to the state tournament. New Hampton upset Garner-Hayfield/Ventura, 7-3, in the District 6 final on Saturday.
All South Hamilton could do afterward was reminisce on the program’s most successful season in more than two decades.
“It’s crazy because I can remember when (older brother) CJ (Hewitt) was playing, there would be no one here,” Hewitt, who tied the South Hamilton single-season home run record with nine and set a new single-season RBIs record with 40, said. “We wouldn’t be expected to win a game like this and now it’s different.
“I’m so proud. I’m glad I was even here to be with the boys and I wouldn’t have traded this for anything.”
Kyle Galetich thinks his team was good enough to push the program to state for the first time, and it certainly deserved more than a meeting with the top-ranked team in the district final.
“I’m disappointed in the ending and I honestly feel we’re a state tournament worthy team,” he said. “If they’re No. 1, they won two and we won one, and I think the run differential is one run.”
Actually, it was 11-11 in runs between the two teams in their three meetings.
“All year long, the guys battled and played hard. It’s the most talented team I’ve ever had for sure, and I feel this team is worthy of more than losing in the district final to the No. 1 team.”
Class 2A District 5 Final
R-S 3, SH 0
Saturday at Story City
SH 000 000 0 — 0 2 3
R-S 002 010 x — 3 6 0
Brock Galetich and Elijah Balderas. Nolan Faber and Matthew Phelan. W — Faber. L — Galetich. Multiple hits — R-S: Faber (3), Thomas Matthes. 2B — R-S: Faber, Matthes. HR — R-S: Faber. RBI — R-S: Faber (2), Calvin Carew.