DeWITT – Louisville/Weeping Water athletes wanted to write a picture-perfect screenplay to their state tournament semifinal game Wednesday night.
Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley spoiled that script with a winning effort on the diamond.
P-W-G scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to defeat the Lions 9-6. The squads matched up in the Class C State Junior Legion Tournament at Cody Park-Legion Field near DeWitt.
Louisville/Weeping Water head coach Monty Daganaar said the Lions were hoping to advance to Thursday’s championship round with a victory. Fielding issues hampered those dreams during the contest. Four P-W-G batters who reached base on errors eventually crossed the plate.
“Defense has been our Achilles’ heel in the games that we’ve lost this year,” Daganaar said. “I thought we hit the ball well and Treyton (Savage) pitched well. We just had a few errors that cost us.
“We knew coming in that we were going to be playing a really good team tonight, and after watching them play, they were just as good as we thought. It was one of those nights where they took advantage of the extra chances that they got.”
Daganaar said he was pleased with the way the Lions responded to a difficult situation midway through the game. Louisville/Weeping Water erased a 5-1 deficit in the fourth and fifth innings to deadlock the score at 5-5.
“Tonight’s game was an example of the character that this team has shown all year,” Daganaar said. “They got behind but they didn’t get down on themselves or any of their teammates. They fought back and made it a ballgame.
“That’s been the case all year. They’ve never quit in any game and they’ve showed so much character and toughness. That’s what I love about them. They just refuse to give up no matter what the circumstance is. I’m so proud of the way they choose to compete.”
Both teams crossed the plate once in the opening inning. P-W-G’s Jackson McIntyre delivered a leadoff single and scored on Morgan Behnk’s two-out single. L/WW tied things after Tyler Mackling drilled a first-pitch single to left. He advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Nash Callahan’s single to right field.
Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley created a 2-1 gap in the third. Gunner Reimars reached on an error and scored on an infield single. L/WW pitcher Treyton Savage induced a bases-loaded groundout to prevent additional damage.
P-W-G tacked on three runs in the fourth. Karsen Reimers scored from third base on a wild pitch, and Gunner Reimers came home when Ruger Reimers drilled an infield single. The base hit started up the middle but ricocheted off the mound toward the gap between first and second base. Behnk later drove in McIntyre with a soft infield grounder.
L/WW fought back with three runs in the fourth. Callahan was struck in the helmet by a pitch and Jake Renner and Josh Nolte followed him with singles. Callahan slid home on Avery Heath’s RBI sacrifice fly to left, and Renner dashed past the plate on a wild pitch. Nolte scored when Gage Scholting knocked a bouncing RBI single up the middle.
The team tied it at 5-5 in the fifth after Brayden Powell reached on an infield error. Courtesy runner Harrison Klein moved to second base on Callahan’s single to center, and he flew home when P-W-G committed an infield error.
The 5-5 score remained intact until the seventh. P-W-G made it 9-5 on two errors, a passed ball and several singles. Louisville/Weeping Water cut the gap to 9-6 on Renner’s RBI single in the seventh, but Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley stranded a pair of Lions to secure the game.
“I really thought we were going to do it after getting to 5-5,” Daganaar said. “The energy in our dugout was just incredible. We had a couple of issues that came up in the seventh inning, and things just kind of snowballed on us at that point.”
Callahan helped L/WW’s offense with three singles, one hit-by-pitch, one RBI and one run. Renner reached base on two singles and one error and tacked on one run and one RBI. Nolte delivered two singles and one run and Scholting had two singles and one RBI.
Mackling produced one single and one run and Powell reached twice on a single and error. Heath posted one RBI, Klein came home twice and Mackling had one single and one run.
Savage tossed 6 1/3 innings and scattered 12 hits with five strikeouts. He retired the side in order in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Louisville/Weeping Water finished the campaign 18-9. Daganaar felt the Lions had achieved a rewarding season on many levels.
“We started working out in February, so the guys have poured a lot of time and energy into the season,” Daganaar said. “To get to the state tournament is a great accomplishment in itself, and to come here and get this far at state has been really great to see.
“The thing that has made this such a fun year is that they’re such an inspiring group. We talk all the time about having a family atmosphere here, and this group is definitely a family. They support each other and want to play hard for all of their teammates. They can be very proud of what they’ve done this season.”
Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley 101 300 4 – 9 13 3
Louisville/Weeping Water 100 310 1 – 6 11 5