WCHS baseball has no answer for scalding Cadet bats

IOWA FALLS – Daniel Halko might not have taken his best stuff with him to the mound here Friday night, but it’s not like Webster City’s right-handed ace had nothing to offer.

He just ran smack-dab into a buzz saw, and he wasn’t the only Lynx player to feel the pain.

Iowa Falls-Alden inflicted massive amounts of punishment with the lumber to the tune of 15 hits, including five doubles and triples, in a 13-3, 6-inning drubbing of WCHS in North Central Conference play. The Cadets (14-9, 11-7 NCC) opened the floodgates in the first inning with three runs and scored multiple runs in four of their at bats.

“They hit it really well,” WCHS head coach Troy Smock said of the Cadets. “Some of them were smoked and some just happened to be ones that got through the infield, but that’s the way baseball is and that’s what we told our guys – when you can put the ball in play anything can happen and that’s what they did up and down the lineup all game long.”

The Cadets first three hitters in the order – Parker Reynolds, Bo Williams and Kort Redmond – sprayed the ball to all parts of the park and went a combined 7-for-12, scored seven runs and drove in three more. Reynolds, the lead-off man, sent a laser down the left-field line in the second for an RBI triple and then ended the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth when he sent a shot to deep center that one-hopped the fence for an RBI ground-rule double to give IF-A a 10-run lead.

Williams and Redmond both singled in the first and second innings.

Sam Thielen belted two-RBI singles in the first and fourth innings out of the No. 7 hole in the lineup. Nick Jensen added two hits, including a double, and two RBIs; clean-up stick Josh Hoover laced a double and drove in two runs.

Halko surrendered seven hits in two innings of work before turning Nelson Ball over to the wolves. Ball – making his varsity debut on the hill – kept the Cadets at bay in the third inning – the only frame in which they didn’t score – but they eventually timed him as well. He allowed eight hits in 31?3 innings.

“(Halko) didn’t pitch great and he knows he can pitch better, but they’re a good hitting team,” Smock said. “After giving up seven runs (in the first and second innings) we thought we’d go with a change of pace and see what Nelson could do. He always throws strikes and he keeps calm out there.”

WCHS (8-18, 6-12 NCC) got on the scoreboard in the third inning on a two-RBI single lined to center by Ben Mossman, who went 2-for-3 on the night. Ball, who doubled and scored on Mossman’s base knock, added an RBI single to center in the fourth. Ball was 2-for-2 at the bottom of the Lynx lineup.

Doug Stoakes added a second-inning single to right and Jordan Moen roped a ball up the middle for a base hit in the sixth.

Despite issues with his control at times, Cadets’ hurler Brandon Qualley had enough pop on his fastball to keep the Lynx grounded. He struck out eight, which overshadowed the four batters he plunked and the four wild pitches that reached the backstop.

WCHS left seven runners stranded on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth.

“On a positive note, we really battled (Qualley) the second and third times through (the lineup),” Smock said. “But we had too many strikeouts. He’s a good pitcher though, no doubt about that.”

The Lynx will now try to put an oftentimes frustrating regular season in the rearview mirror as they shift focus to Friday’s Class 3A District 14 semifinal-round date with Boone on the Toreadors home field. Boone (19-9) has beaten WCHS twice in the last month (8-1 and 7-1), but Smock says that anything can happen in the postseason.

“Come Friday, every team in Class 3A is 0-0,” he said. “We’re no better or no worse than anyone else. I’ve coached long enough to see a lot of things happen in the tournament and it’s just a whole other atmosphere.”