SPIRIT LAKE - Brandon Stoll hit a one-out solo home run to spark the Spirit Lake offense. The Indians' ace pitcher also limited North Union to just one hit in Saturday's Class 2A District 2 final through the first four innings. Spirit Lake (15-10) went on to defeat the Warriors 13-3 in five innings on Saturday and advance to tonight's substate game against Lakes Conference rival Western Christian (18-9). The Wolfpack defeated Sioux Center 9-2 in the District 1 final.
The two teams will play at 7 p.m. in Spencer.
Stoll's solo home run came in the first inning.
The Indians kept building their lead, scoring in all but the third inning.
In the second inning, Nile Skogerboe and Cole Thate each hit one-out singles. Skogerboe went to third after tagging out when Andrew Ites flew out to deep right field. A single by Paul Brown to left scored the run.
The Indians were helped by a two-out error in the fourth inning as Thate reached safely. Ites followed with a single to right. Two runs scored when Brown hit a grounder to third baseman Corey Vaske overthrew first base. Stoll followed with an RBI single and then Nic Amudson hit a blast two left-center field for a two-run home run.
That ended the night for North Union starter Cody Runksmeier who gave up seven runs (two earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Garrett Johnson entered in relief and North Union got out of the inning when Reese Salmon went down on strikes.
But Johnson struggled in the fifth inning.
Tony Eckart drew a leadoff walk. Nick Wetzler reached safely on a bunt single and Skogerboe singled to load the bases. With one out, Ites came up with a two-RBI double. Brown followed with a sacrifice fly to right. After an RBI single by Stoll and a walk to Amudson, Johnson was done for the night. He finished giving up six runs (four earned) on four hits with two strikeouts an two walks.
Brandon Kollasch entered in relief and gave up a walk to Salmon. But then two runs scored on another North Union error. After Wetzler was hit by a pitch, the inning finally ended when Skogerboe hit a grounder to third baseman Sawyer Doocy, who stepped on the bag for the force. Kollasch finished his third of an inning with one walk and one hit batter.
Offensively, North Union couldn't get much going through four innings.
Doocy and Spencer Ricke each drew two-out walks in the first, but were left stranded. In the second inning, Stoll hit Deitering with a pitch and then gave up a walk to Jake Govern after Kollasch had laid down a sacrifice bunt. A fly-out and a fielder's choice ended the threat.
Ricke recorded the first hit for the Warriors with two outs in the third.
In the fourth inning, North Union had its chances as Deitering, Kollasch and Govern were all hit by pitch. But No. 9 batter Jake Adams struck out and Cody Runksmeier hit into the 463 double play.
In the fifth inning, Salmon entered in relief of Stoll. North Union immediately went to work as Colin Runksmeier led off with a single and Doocy followed with a two-run home run to left.
Spirit Lake coach Jason Schneider immediately put Stoll back on the mound. After one out, Stoll gave up a walk and again hit Deitering with a pitch. Kollasch came up with a single followed by an error that allowed Johnson to score. Deitering made it to third base, but Govern went down on strikes and Adams put up a battle at the plate before grounding out to second.
Stoll's line for the game was one earned run on two hits with seven strikeouts, four walks and give hit batters. Salmon gave up two runs on two hits.
Spirit Lake finished with 12 hits led by Stoll who was 3-4 with three RBIs. Skogerboe was 2-4 while Ites was 2-3 with two RBIs. Also Brown was 1-3 with four RBIs; Amundson was 1-3 with two RBIs, Thate was 1-2 and Wetzler was 1-3.
For North Union, Doocy was 1-2 with two RBIs; Ricke was 1-2, Kollasch was 1-1 with an RBI and Colin Runksmeier was 1-3.
North Union finishes the year with a 25-9 record. Seniors playing in their final game were Sawyer Doocy, Jake Adams, Alex Deitering, Brandon Kollasch and Garrett Johnson.
Western Christian vs.
Spirit Lake substate preview
Western Christian won both regular season contests as they defeated Spirit Lake 2-0 on June 12 and 7-6 on July 1. The Wolfpack rallied in the second game, scoring five runs over the last two innings. Western Christian ace Tyler Van Engen pitched both games. Paul Brown pitched both games for Spirit Lake.