Lynx drop defending state champ, No. 1 Lions

WEBSTER CITY – Cole Reigelsberger’s legs weren’t trembling, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a little bit scared as he stood inside the batter’s box and waited on the most important pitch of the season.

Check that … he was terrified.

Reigelsberger was able to calm himself down just long enough to lay down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt, and he sprinted to first with his arms raised as Dylan Fielder stepped on home plate to give Webster City a season-defining 5-4 victory over top-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake last night at Lynx Field.

Teammates charged out of the dugout to celebrate with Fielder at the dish, but it didn’t take them long to sprint after Reigelsberger.

“I was pretty scared,” a still smiling Reigelsberger said afterwards. “It was a low inside pitch and I just tried to get it down any way possible.

“We’re extremely excited and we knew we could do this. It’s crazy.”

Clear Lake (26-5, 13-3 NCC) – last summer’s 3A state champion – was coming off back-to-back losses to North Central Conference leader Algona. The Lions now find themselves stuck in a three-game skid for the first time since the start of the 2011 season three years ago.

Clear Lake is 97-15 since the beginning of the 2012 season.

“We went toe to toe with the champs and we got them (last night), so we feel really good right now,” WCHS head coach Troy Smock said. “I’ve only been here two years, so it’s obviously the biggest win I’ve had. But that’s a on-the-map kind of win.”

With the game tied at 4 entering the seventh inning, WCHS (12-11, 7-9 NCC) pulled off a Houdini-like escape after Clear Lake loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the frame.

Southpaw pitcher Seth Crouthamel came on and struck out back-to-back batters before inducing a groundout by Zach Tatum.

The momentum certainly carried over to the bottom of the seventh. Dylan Fielder blistered a lead-off double – his second of the game – over the head of Lions’ right fielder Mitch Keeran. Jordan Moen then bunted him over to third to set the stage for Reigelsberger.

“This is awesome. It really is,” Smock said.

WCHS out hit the Lions 13-8. Clean up stick Cal Zahn led the way with a 3-for-3 night that included an RBI single in the first inning. Doug Stoakes followed with his own RBI base knock to give the Lynx an early 2-1 advantage.

Fielder, Reigelsberger and Ben Mossman all finished 2-for-4. Trey Tesdahl, Drew Fielder and Moen all had one hit.

WCHS ran Lions’ starting pitcher Ben Mason off the hill after just 2 1/3 innings. Mason entered the contest with a 6-0 record and 1.26 ERA.

“We have been hitting the ball really well and scoring early lately,” Smock said. “It was so big to score some early runs and then to get out of some big innings and keep it close.”

Zahn worked the first three innings on the bump and allowed six hits and two earned runs. Cam Gordon and Reigelsberger took over until it was Crouthamel’s turn in the seventh.

Reigelsberger yielded just one hit during his two-inning stint.

WCHS and Clear Lake will meet again next week in the first round of 3A district play. Smock says his team better be prepared for an angry bunch of Lions.

“We sort of awakened the bear there and we have to go up there (next week), but this shows we can beat them,” he said.

Reigelsberger says the euphoria will be gone once the Lynx take the field for their next practice.

“We’ve got to get back to it right away. We’ll put this one in the bag and move on,” he said.

WCHS will close out its regular season next week. The Lynx will host Algona on Monday, followed by a Tuesday night home date with Boone.