BEAMAN - The worry started a week ago for BCLUW head coach Matt Zoske.
The fears came to fruition Saturday night.
Dike-New Hartford starter Josh Rekers was dominant from the mound and helped the Wolverines claim a 9-2 victory over the Comets to start Class 2A District 13 play.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
BCLUW shortstop Connor Ubben, right, tries to tag out a stealing Dike-New Hartford player Saturday during the teams’ meeting in the opening round of the Class 2A District 13 playoffs. The Wolverines prevailed 9-2 over the host Comets to earn a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals contest against No. 9-ranked Hudson in Beaman.
The senior Rekers retired 19 straight batters at one point and was two outs away from registering a no-hitter.
It was a performance Zoske had feared since seeing the right-hander pitch at the Comet Baseball Invitational the week prior.
"I knew he was going to give us fits," said Zoske. "He throws hard inside, which really gives us fits, and he sweeps his curve/slider away and that gives us fits.
A-P Falcons advance to district baseball semifinals
BEAMAN - Clint Kannegieter struck out seven over six innings and Aplington-Parkersburg pieced together a 7-2 victory over South Hardin in the first of two Class 2A District 13 baseball games on Saturday.
The Falcons (11-14) scored in four of their six at-bats to chase South Hardin (7-11) from the posteason.
Curry Hoff went 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases to lead Aplington-Parkersburg, while Abe Folkerts was
2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Kannegieter was 2-for-4 with an RBI to help his own cause.
Sam Shindelar took the loss for South Hardin, allowing four earned runs with four walks and five strikeouts.
Shindelar and Blake Baker both had two of the Tigers' six hits. Dylin Wilkie and David Shindelar also singled as South Hardin's four-game win streak ended.
Aplington-Parkersburg advances to face East Marshall (22-11) in the first of two district semifinals on Tuesday in Beaman.
"I was hoping we'd be able to get something going but we had a couple runners early and finally did get some late, but he did a really good job.
"Didn't give us anything."
BCLUW (15-13) got a similarly strong outing from Zach Cashin early, with the senior going the first three innings without surrendering a hit.
A Comet error, however, gave D-NH a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
Then in the fourth, the Wolverines found their stroke.
Rekers led off the frame with a triple and scored one batter later on a squeeze play. A double steal and an error led to another run, as did another squeeze play. Tom Koop's single with two down drove home the final run of the inning to give Dike-New Hartford a 5-0 advantage.
The Wolverines added another four-spot in the sixth with the help of walks and an error by the Comets to charge ahead 9-0.
BCLUW walked eight and committed five errors on the evening.
"It was a close game (early). We just gave them too many," Zoske said. "We just gave them too many extra baserunners, and they were aggressive on the bases, they were aggressive at the plate and they really earned it."
Cashin took the loss after giving up five runs on four hits while walking four. Cole Thompson pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on three hits.
Rekers opened the game by plunking BCLUW leadoff hitter Isaac Novak and then got Cole Thompson to hit into a fielder's choice.
Thompson would be the last Comet to reach base until Robert Sharp broke up the no-hitter bid with a single in the seventh inning after Rekers' 6 1/3 innings of perfection.
He finished with five strikeouts and recorded 13 outs on groundballs.
Chad Dolphin followed Sharp's single in the seventh with one of his own, and then Cashin delivered a double to score both and end the shutout bid for Rekers.
Cashin, Sharp and Dolphin make up half of the six graduating seniors for the Comets, joined by Joel Steckelberg, Wes Hammers and Thompson. All six are starters.
"To lose good players, it happens. It happens all the time," said Zoske, "but to know those six kids, I won't be able to be around them again as a group, that's what really hurts. Great kids.
"That's the part that's tough. Just losing good kids is tough."
The Wolverines (15-13) move on to face No. 9 Hudson (22-5) on Tuesday back in Beaman. The game will start approximately 30 minutes following the other District 13 semifinal matchup between East Marshall and Aplington-Parkersburg at 5 p.m.