Three in a row for Gaels
Brant Reiling had his hand in three of the biggest moments here Thursday night for the St. Edmond baseball team.
Reiling went the distance on the mound, striking out five as the Gaels scored a 3-2 victory over Eagle Grove at Rogers Park.
The St. Edmond (9-8 overall) senior also scored the game-winning run after coming all the way around from first after an error by the Eagles, and he made the final out after Jackson Kochendorfer snagged a tough ground ball as well.
For the Gaels, the victory was their third in a row, improving their record to 5-2 over the last seven games.
“I’ll be honest: when that hit-by-a-pitch was called (in the fifth), it struck a nerve with me because I don’t think the ball hit him,” Reiling said. “After that, I kind of found another gear.
“I scored that run in the sixth and knew I’d have the ball in my hand in the seventh. I wanted to close it out.”
Reiling scattered seven hits, sitting down seven of the last eight he faced. He was supported by his senior classmate Sam Dougall, who was 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Jake Szalat plated the other run.
Dougall drove in his run in the first, scoring Connor Allison. Szalat plated eighth-grader Cael Kolacia in the second. Seven different St. Edmond batters had a hit, including a triple by Cole Allison.
“Eagle Grove had all the energy and we were flat early on,” SEHS head coach Joe Shanks said. “When Cole hit that triple, we got some intensity going and it carried over through the rest of the game.
“This was a good win for us. We didn’t play our best and Eagle Grove played hard. We were lucky to get the win.”
Coming in with a two-game win streak of their own, the Eagles (7-8) suffered their fourth one-run defeat of the season. Saxon Lyman also went the distance, striking out two, while John Mosley was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
“When you are in a close game, you need somebody to step up,” Eagle Grove head coach Jordan Miller said. “It’s kind of been the story of our season. It’s not a sad thing. We are sitting at 7-8 and easily could be 13-2 without even trying.
“But we are at a ceiling and need someone to breakthrough. It doesn’t have to be the same person every night, but we need a big hit to win these games.”
Brayden Lyman tied the game at 1-all with an RBI single in the second that scored Mosley, while Mosley did the same with Nikolas Padilla after he doubled in the second.
Eagle Grove, though, left nine runners on base, including five in scoring position.
“Saxton competed on the mound,” said Miller, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate and former assistant coach. “He wasn’t sharp early, but to his credit, he competed.”
After starting the year 3-0, the Gaels dropped six of seven at one point. Their only losses since being 3-6 have come at the hands of No. 1 (Class 1A) Mason City Newman and North Central Conference leader Webster City.
“We hit that early stride where we were hitting the ball well,” Reiling said. “But our defense started slacking. Now, we’re hitting our stride here again because of pitching and defense.
“We are an average team that doesn’t have a pitcher that will blow the ball by you or a hitter that can knock it out of the park. But we compete hard and make other teams try to work which keeps us in games.”
St. Edmond is now off until Monday when they host Humboldt, while Eagle Grove takes on Belmond-Klemme Friday on the road.
In the junior varsity contest, the Gaels won, 7-6. Noah Carlson was 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI.
ST. EDMOND 3, EAGLE GROVE 2
Eagle Grove 011 000 0 — 2 7 2
St. Edmond 110 001 x — 3 8 2
Saxon Lyman (L, 0-3, 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 0 BB) and Brayden Lyman; Brant Reiling (W, 3-2, 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB) and Jack McEvoy.
3B–SE: Cole Allison. 2B–EG: Nikolas Padilla, Saxon Lyman. RBI–EG: John Mosley, Brayden Lyman; SE: Sam Dougall, Jake Szalat.