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2018 Lakes Conference Champs

July 4, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

In a classic pitchers' duel, Estherville Lincoln Central defeated Le Mars 3-1 on Monday to win the 2018 Lakes Conference title.

"This was one of our goals at the start of the season," said ELC coach Lee Evans. "Our kids 1 through 9 did a good job. It's good to play these tight games right before the playoffs."

The Bulldogs won the Lakes Conference a year ago while ELC had shared the league title in 2016 with Cherokee.

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While there are a few league games to be played yet this week, the Midgets (10-2 in the Lakes) needed to win Monday to win the title out-right. Spencer had already wrapped up league play with a 9-3 record. Le Mars entered Monday's game with three losses and Storm Lake started the week 7-3 with games to play against Le Mars and Western Christian.

Le Mars struck first in Monday's game in the third inning. After getting a runner on first base, an ELC error allowed the Bulldog to get to third and a sacrifice fly scored the run.

Blake Miller started ELC's rally with a leadoff single in the fifth inning. Izaak Sander came in as a pinch runner and he went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bennett Loock. Alec Heifner then hit a grounder up the middle. The Le Mars shortstop's throw pulled the first baseman off the bag and then the ball scooted far enough away to allow Heifner to go to second. With two outs, Trey Jacobson came up with a single up the middle that scored both runs and gave ELC the lead for good at 2-1. Jacob Bosch followed with a single to right field and Briar Rowley walked to load the bases. Evan Olesen was then hit by a pitch to drive in an insurance run.

Defensively, Olesen and the Midgets retired the final six Le Mars batters in order over the sixth and seventh innings.

Olesen finished with nine strikeouts while giving up just three hits and one walk.

Le Mars pitcher Logan Lancaster struck out four batters and walked two.

At the plate, Jacobson and Olesen each were 2-3 while Loock was 1-2 and Miller and Bosch each went 1-3.

ELC ends season on high note

ELC wrapped up the regular season with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Cherokee. With 11 seniors on the squad, all had an opportunity to contribute with nine starting the game and the other two also getting in on the action.

Trey Jacobson started on the mound and threw the one-hit shut out. The Cardinals had their best chance in the third inning when Jacobson walked three batters, but he also had three of his eight strikeouts in the inning. He finished with four walks and one hit batter.

At the plate, Evan Olesen finished 3-4 while Jacob Bosch was 1-2 and Lucas Gardner was 1-4. Bennett Loock, Ethan Traff, Briar Rowley, Alec Heifner and Seth Loock each went 1-1 on the night.

Seniors honored before the game were Seth Loock, Trey Jacobson, Noah Heifner, Michael Houseman, Hunter Wheatley, Trevor Friesner, Ethan Traff, Lucas Gardner, Jacob Bosch, Aaron Kintzle and Evan Olesen.

ELC (22-3 overall) opens tournament play with a first round bye. The Midgets will host the winner of Emmetsburg and Okoboji at 7 p.m., Tuesday in a Class 2A District 3 semifinal. The other district semifinal will start at 5 p.m. in Estherville featuring Pocahontas Area versus either South Central Calhoun or Manson-Northwest Webster.



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