EMMETSBURG - North Union entered Saturday's Class 2A District final, batting .300 as a team.
However Alta-Aurelia's Austin Delp kept the North Union hitters baffled for most of the night as Delp's squad won 5-1.
Delp retired the first 16 North Union batters before giving up a one-out walk in the sixth inning. He finished the night with eight strikeouts while giving up just three hits and a pair of walks.
North Union second baseman Evan Hagebock tags out Alta-Aurelia’s A.J. Lange on an attempted steal of second base Saturday in the Class 2A District 2 Final in Emmetsburg.
EDN photo by David Swartz
"He kept us off balance," said North Union coach Chad Slagle of Delp's performance. "We took some good pitches early in the game. When we did put the ball in play it went right at them."
Sawyer Doocy started on the mound for North Union and his teammates helped him out after he gave up a leadoff walk and single in the bottom of the first inning. Doocy got the third batter, Neil Marshall to fly out to center field. Cleanup batter A.J. Lange then hit a grounder to second baseman Evan Hagebock. Hagebock tagged out Jalen Henningsen on his way to second base and threw to first for the double play.
Doocy, who finished with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, struck out the side in the bottom of the second, which included a two-out error.
However, the junior ran into trouble in the third inning.
With one out, he hit leadoff batter Jaden Holton. Henningsen then hit a double down the left field line. A single up the middle by Marshall scored both runs. Lange followed with another single and Alta-Aurelia had a 3-0 lead.
Alta-Aurelia took advantage of another hit-batter in the fourth inning. With two outs, Doocy hit No. 9 batter James Curbow. He stole second and Holton delivered a single to score the fourth run of the game.
In the top of the sixth, North Union designated hitter Brandon Kollasch was the first to break up Delp's chance at a perfect game as he drew a one-out walk. Zach Ditsworth entered the game to run and then Alta-Aurelia committed its first error of the night on a hard hit ball by Brett Deitering toward the second baseman. A hit by Hagebock loaded the bases. Doocy helped his cause with an RBI single.
With two outs, cleanup batter Brett Thackery returned to the plate. Thackery worked a full count, fouling off several pitches before hitting a sharp grounder that initially appeared it might get to the hole between third base and short. But third baseman Marshall came up with the ball and got Thackery at first to end the threat.
Alta-Aurelia added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
Jayson VanHaaften hit a leadoff single and Curbow drew a one-out walk.
Thackery then entered in relief of Doocy. The runners advanced as Holton grounded out to third base for the second out. A passed ball allowed pinch runner Zach Sleifert to score. Thackery then got Henningsen to fly out to center field to end the half inning.
In the top of the seventh, Cody Runksmeier drew a one-out walk followed by a single from Alex Deitering. But North Union's season came to an end as Kollasch popped up to first base and Jake Adams hit a long fly ball that was caught in center field.
Doocy took the loss. In 5 1/3 innings, he gave up seven hits with five strikeouts, three walks and two hit batters.
"Sawyer did what he was supposed to do and kept the ball around the zone," said Slagle. "They were making good swings on his spots and just hitting well."
At the plate, Hagebock, Doocy and Alex Deitering each went 1-3.
North Union bids farewell to seniors Travis Larson, Zach Ditsworth, Evan Hagebock, Brett Deitering, Zack Hurlburt and Brett Thackery.
"It tough to say good-bye-they're a special group of kids," said Slagle of the seniors. "It's been an honor to coaching them. I've enjoyed seeing how they rallied around Danny Kollasch our manager."