Twin Cedars One Win From Perfection

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The Twin Cedars baseball team will play for a state championship for the first time in school history, after hammering LeMars Gehlen Catholic 11-0 in the semifinals of the Class 1A state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines.  Twin Cedars kept its perfect record intact by improving to 35-0, while Gehlen ended its season at 30-4.

The #5 Jays were expected to be a challenge for the top-ranked Sabers, but a patient Twin Cedars lineup took full advantage of uncharastic wildness by Gehlen starter Blake Wiltgen (9-2), who walked five of the seven batters he faced and only lasted one-third of an inning.  Twin Cedars scored six runs on just two hits, one error and the five walks in the bottom of the first inning, practically putting an end to the contest just as it was beginning.

The offensive outburst was more than enough for Sabers starter Coy Moore (11-0), who allowed just two hits and one hit batter over five innings while striking out six.  Moore is unlikely to start Saturday’s championship game after tossing five innings Thursday, but the relatively easy effort means he should be available in a relief role behind projected starter Otis Roby.

Twin Cedars added a run in the second inning to go ahead 7-0, and then set the game up for the mercy rule by scoring four times in the fourth.  The last three runs scored on a bases-loaded double by Brent Parker, who went 2-for-2 in the game, adding a two-run single and an RBI sacrifice fly to his tally and totaling six RBI.

The final hurdle between the Sabers and a perfect season is Mason City Newman Catholic, the team that knocked Twin Cedars out of last year’s state tournament in the semifinals.  The second-ranked Knights had to survive their semifinal game on Thursday, giving up two runs to Don Bosco in the top of the seventh that tied the game before winning 5-4 on a walkoff single in the bottom of the frame.

Saturday’s championship game will be at noon, at Principal Park.