OSKALOOSA — The Nevada baseball team had Ballard on the ropes going into the bottom of the sixth inning in the Class 3A district semifinals Saturday in Oskaloosa.
The Cubs led 3-2 going into the Bomber half of the sixth after a big fourth inning and strong pitching from Dylan Sporrer and James Carsrud. But Ballard erupted for six runs in the sixth to take the wind out of Nevada’s sails and hand the Cubs a season-ending 8-3 setback.
Carsrud had gotten out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth after Jack Luster hit a leadoff double and Sam Petersen followed with a single off Sporrer. Carsrud came in and picked up two big strikeouts, then forced Gannon Manfull to fly out to center field and get out of the inning unscathed.
Ballard took advantage of two successful bunts load the bases with no outs in the sixth. Cam Shill made a great diving stab on a rocket hit by Ballard’s Reece Huen for the first out of the inning with no damage done, but Jack Luster followed with an RBI groundout to tie the score.
Sam Petersen followed with a walk and Cody Wolfe singled in the go-ahead run. Isaac Schafbuch added another RBI single, then Gannon Manfull cleared the bases with a double to left.
“We just couldn’t pull a whole game together,” Nevada head baseball coach Blake Jobe said. “We just missed a bunt coverage and that was really the deciding point.”
In the top of the seventh, Bomber pitcher Colin Anderson retired Nevada in order to end the game. Anderson didn’t give up a hit and he finished with two strikeouts, one walk and two hit batsmen in four innings of relief to get the win.
Nevada only had one hit all game. But the Cubs took advantage of their opportunities when they got runners on base in the top of the fourth.
Jack Higgins delivered Nevada’s lone hit by starting the Cub half of the fourth with a single. Bronzon Mason and Preston Cattanach both walked to load the bases with no outs against Ballard starter Nic Edwards.
Anderson came in to pitch and Thomas Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in the first Nevada run. Anderson hit both Keaton Fry and Brock Dutton to push across the second Cub score and load the bases back up with one out.
Trent Stahl knocked in the final Cub run with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Fry was hit by a pitch three times, Cam Shill drew two walks and Stahl, Mason, Cattanach and Crawford each drew one free pass for Nevada.
Carsrud took the loss after giving up five earned runs on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 1 ⅔ innings. Sporrer threw 3 ⅔ scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks with three strikeouts, Brock Dutton gave up two runs in ⅓ of an inning as the Cub starter and Cattanach allowed one run on two hits in the final ⅓ of an inning for Nevada.
The Cubs finished with a 15-13 record. It gives Nevada two winning seasons in a row under Jobe — after winning only two games in 2016.
“It’s a big thank-you to our senior class,” Jobe said. “Hats off to them, the work they’ve put in has really turned this program around.”
Ballard advanced to the district finals with a 16-11 record. Luster, Petersen and Wolfe each ended up with two hits and Luster and Petersen also scored two runs apiece.
Ballard 8, Nevada 3
N 000 300 0 - 3 1 0
B 200 006 X - 8 10 1
N: Brock Dutton, Dylan Sporrer (1), James Carsrud (5), Preston Cattanach (6) and Keaton Fry.
B: Nic Edwards, Colin Anderson (4) and Kade Reinertson.
2B: B - Jack Luster, Gannon Manfull.
IOWA FALLS — Nevada closed out the regular season with a superb offensive showing against Iowa Falls-Alden, whipping the Cadets by a 19-2 score in five innings July 10 at Iowa Falls.
The Cubs connected for 10 hits and also drew nine walks as a team. Nevada scored three times in each of the first two innings, then put up five runs in the fourth and eight in the fifth to end the game early.
Jack Higgins was 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and five RBIs and Trent Stahl finished 2-for-2 with a walk, RBI and four runs for Nevada on offense.
Thomas Crawford went 2-for-3 with two walks, a run, steal and three RBIs; Bronzon Mason doubled, walked, drove in a run and scored three times and Preston Cattanach finished 1-for-2 with two walks, one steal and two runs and RBIs apiece. Keaton Fry singled, walked twice, scored and drove in two runs; Kyle Bauman scored three runs and picked up an RBI; Cam Shill drove in three runs and scored once and Brock Dutton walked and scored.
Dylan Sporrer was the winning pitcher. Sporrer only gave up one hit and walk apiece with one strikeout in 2 ⅔ scoreless innings.
Higgins and Carter Franzen each threw one scoreless inning and they combined for five strikeouts and no walks.
Nevada 19, Iowa Falls-Alden 2 (5)
N 330 58 - 19 10 NA
IFA 200 00 - 2 3 NA
N: Brock Dutton, Dylan Sporrer (1), Jack Higgins (4), Carter Franzen (5) and Keaton Fry.
2B: Higgins, Bronzon Mason.