Gaels, Garrigan square off in district semis

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Cael Kolacia of St. Edmond makes a play during the regular season.

ALGONA — The rematch is now set between St. Edmond and Bishop Garrigan, as the former North Central Conference rivals square off here Thursday night in a Class 1A, District 3 semifinal.

First-pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. following the other semifinal in the district, which will pit Newell-Fonda against Sioux Central.

The Gaels (12-10 overall) rallied Tuesday night to defeat West Bend-Mallard, 9-6. Jake Szalat earned the win, striking out five over four innings of work with Jackson Kochendorfer pitching the final three for the save.

Jed Tracy, Kochendorfer and Jeremiah Wheeler each drove in two runs, with Szalat, Nick Bennett and Kochendorfer recording two hits each. Bennett also scored three runs in the win.

Szalat has now reached base via hit or walk in each of his last 14 games, with Connor Bocken doing the same in his last 11.

Jack McEvoy, Cael Kolacia and Noah Carlson all have fielding percentages of .930 or higher for the Gaels, who have won eight of their last 12 overall.

The Golden Bears (20-12) claimed a 7-1 victory over Storm Lake St. Mary’s in their postseason opener, improving to 11-4 over the last 15. Included in that run is a 14-2 victory over St. Edmond.

Luke Bormann earned the win, striking out nine over five-plus innings with just two hits allowed in improving to 5-1. John Meis finished out the game, recording four outs, with three of those coming via strikeout.

Alex Mammen had two hits, drove in two runs and scored once, with Brad Capesius finishing 2-for-4 with three runs.

Drew Bacha leads Bishop Garrigan in hitting, batting .408 with 26 RBI and 10 extra-base hits. Mammen has driven in 31, Drake Buscherfeld 28 and John Joyce 21 runs this year.

Buscherfeld is 5-2 on the mound with 60 strikeouts and a 3.16 earned run average. Capesius started the game vs. St. Edmond, striking out 10 and scattering just three hits in five-plus innings.

Bacha has reached safely in nine consecutive games, with nine RBI during that span. Capesius has done the same in eight games and scored 13 runs.

Mammen has 11 RBI and 11 hits over his past seven games played and both Joyce and Buscherfeld have reached in 11 of the last 12.

The district final will be back here on Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m. The winner of that advances to a substate final on Tuesday in Bancroft vs. either No. 1 Mason City Newman, Northwood-Kensett, Saint Ansgar or West Fork.