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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

No. 8 New London stunned by IMS

Tigers struggle at plate, knocked out of postseason in district semifinals
Jul 13, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Tiger starter Britt Noel lets go of a pitch during the first inning.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

NEW LONDON — The eighth-ranked New London baseball team had won 14 games in a row coming into Thursday night’s district semifinals, but nothing seemed to go right against a hungry Iowa Mennonite team.

IMS put up at least one run in five different innings en route to an 8-3 upset over the top-seeded Tigers to stun New London and flip the district bracket on its head.

IMS came firing out of the gate with back-to-back hits from Cole Ours and Trevor Leyden. Leyden’s hit was an RBI double, which brought Ours in for the first run of the game.

New London starter Britt Noel got out of the inning with just the one run scored and then helped his own cause in the bottom half. Noel singled Isaac McSorley in after a leadoff triple, and then scored on a two-out wild pitch. After one inning, New London led 2-1.

IMS batled right back, however. Jacob Boller knocked in two runs in the top of the second to give IMS the lead, 3-2. New London would never get the lead back.

Isaiah Swantz made it 4-2 with an RBI single in the top of the third. Two innings later, back-to-back doubles from Blake Borntrager and Boller made it 7-4. Borntrager’s double sent one run in, and Boller picked up two more RBIs of his own.

IMS scored on a Tiger throwing error to stretch their lead to 8-2. New London loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Borntrager worked a flyout from McSorley and the game stayed 8-2.

Britt Noel and Sam Loyd hit back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Noel would score on a one-out wild pitch, but New London didn’t pick up another hit, as Borntrager closed out a complete-game victory to knock out the Tigers.

“We did a great job pitching and playing defense, and not letting them score,” IMS head coach Danny Hershberger said after the game. “Our defense made good plays and Blake Borntrager did a good job of making pitches to get out of stuff. It’s always good when you can hold a team from scoring and add a couple runs.”

Hershberger was also pleased with his offensive effort, especially with New London throwing both Noel and Loyd in the contest.

“We knew that we were going to face a good pitcher tonight,” Hershberger saaid. “We just wanted to be ready to hit good pitches when he threw them, and we did that. We were aggressive, we waited to get good pitches and we hit the ball really well.”

Boller finished 2-4 with a double and four RBIs. Borntrager was 2-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Reggie Borntrager finished 2-2 with two runs scored.

Blake gave up just three runs (one earned) on seven hits and five walks in the win, while striking out three batters.

New London was led by Noel, who went 2-4 with two runs and an RBI. Loyd went 2-3 with a double, and McSorley was 1-4 with a triple and a run scored.

Noel threw the first three inning and gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out two batters. Loyd came in to relieve Noel in the fourth inning and threw four frames. Loyd gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out one.

New London head coach Brad Helmerson said the game was disappointing, but a learning opporunity for a team that loses just three seniors to graduation.

“We just weren’t patient,” Helmerson said. “We were too tight (and) when you’re tight and you’re trying to hit it too much, sometimes it’s tough to take good swings. That’s two nights in a row where that’s happened, and that’s just one of those lessons that you’re going to have to learn.”

Helmerson credited Borntrager for his outing, and his ability to make the Tigers uncomfortable in their upset bid.

“We got behind a little bit,” Helmerson said. “We didn’t take good swings, started pressing a little bit, and their pitcher kept us off balance.”

New London finished the year 21-3 overall with a SEISC South Division championship. IMS will return to New London on Saturday night for the district final against Notre Dame, who scored a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Cardinal in the first game of the night.

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