BEAMAN - BCLUW junior Tyler Lutes wasn't around the last time the Comets faced off with the West Marshall baseball team.
Thursday, he made sure his presence was felt as his RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning helped the Comets shock the first-place Trojans, 7-6, in eight innings during a North Iowa Cedar League West Division contest.
"There is no reason to expect us to score three runs in that seventh inning, but there is no reason to tell our guys that either," BCLUW coach Matt Zoske said. "They didn't care what the score was. It doesn't matter what the score is. We are playing to get better, playing for ourselves and playing for the team and just one thing led to another and we were able to get the runs in."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
BCLUW junior Conner Ubben started on the mound for the Comets on Thursday but was not involved in the decision during BCLUW’s 7-6, eight-inning win over West Marshall in Beaman. It was the Trojans’ first NICL West Division loss of the season.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Members of the BCLUW baseball team celebrate its walk-off, 7-6 win against conference-leading West Marshall in Beaman on Thursday night. Tyler Lutes, center, recorded the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to hand the Trojans their first NICL West Division loss of the season.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Lutes, who told someone before the game that his Comets were going to win, came through for BCLUW after missing the first meeting because of Boys State.
It was just exciting and I was hoping to get a hit," Lutes said. "It was just a lot of fun. I am glad I was able to help the team win tonight. I had a good feeling about the game and we were able to get it done."
Two different times the Comets, now 5-7 in NICL West play, trailed West Marshall but rallied to stay in the game and eventually won it in walk-off fashion.
"We've always wanted to beat these guys," said BCLUW senior Isaac Novak, who earned the win in relief on the mound. "These guys are a rival of ours. We wanted to win this one after what happened the first time. Tonight, things just started to click for us and we were able to get them."
It was the first loss in NICL West play for West Marshall, which could have won at least a share of the conference title with a victory. Instead, the Trojans will have to wait until their meeting with second-place South Tama County on Monday. A win in either one of those two games locks up the league title for West Marshall.
"Sometimes losing a game can help you," West Marshall coach Jerod Brown said. "We can turn everything into a positive. In many ways, an experience like this is the best thing that can happen to us long term."
The Comets struck first in the second inning with an unearned run against West Marshall starter Jared Riemenschneider. Lutes singled with two outs in the inning and then a Trojan error kept the inning alive. That allowed Lucas McLean to drive in the run with an RBI single.
"The first time around we didn't throw strikes and didn't play a lot of defense," said Zoske in reference to the 10-0 win by West Marshall in five innings. "We haven't played very well lately. All I ask though is that we throw strikes, play defense and put the ball in play. We did that tonight."
West Marshall took the lead in the fourth with two runs, one coming off a wild pitch and the other after an RBI single from Justin Weitzell.
Two more runs crossed in the sixth for the Trojans as they pushed the lead to 4-1. Ubben eventually got out of the inning with three straight strikeouts but not before a Comet error and a bases-loaded free pass to Riemenschneider plated the two tallies.
The Comets got a lead-off double from Max Callaway and Lutes was hit by a pitch to lead off the BCLUW sixth inning. Riemenschneider though struck out three straight Comet hitters to escape the jam.
Riemenschneider, who threw 130 pitches in the game, wasn't so fortunate in the seventh as the Comets rallied to force extra innings. Ubben and Mitch Miller both walked to start the frame and a single by Novak eventually loaded the bases.
Lane Caster's RBI single scored the first run, Calloway's RBI fielder's choice trimmed the Comets' deficit to one and then Riemenschneider plunked Cole Silver with the bases loaded to tie the game.
It was his second straight hit by pitch in the inning and the first earned runs Riemenschneider had given up all season. He was able to strand two runners on base in the frame to send the game to extra innings.
"We weren't sure how much longer Riemenschneider was going to be in the game at that point," Zoske said. "That seventh inning was possible because we took so many good at-bats before that. We saw a lot of his pitches and got his pitch count up."
The first two Trojan batters were given free passes - a walk to Dylan Petermeier and hit by pitch on Riemenschneider. Petermeier eventually gave West Marshall (15-4, 11-1) the lead again as he scored on a wild pitch and then Jared Johnson's RBI sacrifice fly to center field made it 6-4.
The Comets refused to quit though. Ubben began the final inning with single to chase Riemenschneider and then Garrett Nichols walked the only batter he faced - Miller - to put two on with nobody out.
"He's been a bulldog for us," Brown said of Riemenschneider. "We wanted to give him a chance. He threw six strong innings and we thought he gave us the best chance to win in that situation."
Garrett Goodwin came on in relief of Nichols and gave up an RBI single to Novak. Caster's RBI fielder's choice tied the game at 6-all.
Callaway then reached on a fielder's choice and moved into scoring position after a West Marshall error.
That is when Lutes became the hero for the Comets as his bloop single to center field was enough to score Callaway from second, triggering a big celebration from the home team.
"I think it is big because it shows what we can do," Zoske said. "We knew it before. We just got to put it together. We were able to put it together tonight. But where do we go from here is the next question?"
The Trojans have two conference games left. Both games are against South Tama County but the first game is currently suspended in the 10th inning with West Marshall leading by four. ... Riemenschneider came into the game with a record of 4-0 on the mound and an earned run average of 0.00. He also leads the team in hitting with a .417 average and a .588 on base percentage. ... BCLUW will host South Hardin in a varsity only game at 6 p.m. tonight in Beaman. The Comets also host a four-team tourney in Beaman Saturday. BCLUW will play Dike-New Hartford at 10 a.m. The other first-round game pits East Marshall against Sumner-Fredericksburg. ... West Marshall next plays host to GMG tonight at 7:30 p.m. in State Center. The West Marshall makeup games against South Tama will be played starting at 5 p.m. Monday in State Center. "Tonight is what it is, it's one night," Brown said. "We learn from our mistakes and we move on."