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Olesen strikes out 12 in substate win, as Midgets earn second trip to state

July 18, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

ALGONA - Class 2A No. 7 Estherville Lincoln Central's offense scored early to give pitcher Evan Olesen more reason to relax in Tuesday's Substate game against Forest City.

Olesen responded by striking out 12 batters to make the game easier for his defense, as the Midgets cruised to a 10-0, six-inning victory over the Indians.

The victory propels ELC back to the state tournament for the second year a row-the first time in school history the Midgets have been at state in consecutive years. Estherville first qualified for state in 1987. Estherville Lincoln Central made its first appearance at state in 2008 and again last season, 2017.

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The Midgets (25-3) receives the No. 3 seed and will play sixth-seeded Centerville (24-7) in the 2A quarterfinal at 5 p.m., Monday at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Olesen dominated Forest City's batters Tuesday, retiring nine straight batters before giving up a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. He struck out the side in the third inning.

"Going back to last time we played them, I knew they would try to work the count so it was important to get the first strike," said Olesen, who had 19 first-pitch strikes in the contest. "Also, they weren't a very good team at hitting the off-speed, so I made sure to get the first strike across and get my off-speed working."

"Forest City is always scrappy and you're going to get a great effort out of them," said ELC coach Lee Evans. "Their kids battled, I just think we were a little too much tonight. With Evan on the mound and the way we got off in the first inning and kept putting pressure on them each and every inning, I felt like we had it in hand and pretty well in check. Key thing was staying aggressive with strikes and I though Evan did an outstanding job tonight. Defense played well tonight. We also swung the bats well

"These kids never cease to amaze me. They're a great group of kids-great baseball players. It's been a pleasure being a part of it and being able to coach these guys all the way through the years. I've loved every second of it.

After giving up the walk in the fourth inning, an ELC error put runners at first and second. However, Olesen struck out the 3-5 batters to end the threat. In the fifth inning, Forest City came up with a two-out single followed by a walk, but a groundout to shortstop Trey Jacobson ended that threat.

Forest City also threatened in the sixth inning with a pair of singles. But Olesen recorded his 11th strikeout with the next batter flying out to left field and the senior's 12th strikeout ended the inning.

Offensively, ELC went to work immediately. Leadoff batter Jacobson, who finished 3-for-3 with three RBIS on the night, sent Zach Miller's first pitch to left field for a double.

"I was looking for first-pitch strikes," said Jacobson.

Jacob Bosch followed with his own single to left and Briar Rowley's single to right brought Jacobson home for the first run. Olesen drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, but ELC couldn't push another run across. Bennett Loock's two-out line drive looked to score some runs, but Forest City shortstop Jordan Spooner leaped to make the catch.

ELC went to work in the bottom of the second with Alec Heifner leading off with a hit and moving to second on Seth Loock's sacrifice bunt. Heifner scored easily on a single by Jacobson. Bosch then hit a grounder to Forest City second baseman Reese Moore, who bobbled the play making all safe. Rowley then hit a grounder to second with the Indians taking the force at second. A passed ball allowed Jacobson to score, and ELC led 3-0.

The fourth inning started like the second. Heifner was hit by a pitch and again moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Seth Loock . Heifner scored easily on a single up the middle by Jacobson . With two outs, Rowley hit a chopper down the right field line that brought Jacobson home. Rowley then stole second base and went to third when the catcher's throw went into the outfield. Olesen drew a walk and courtesy runner Noah Heifner stole second base. Another ball that got past the Indians' catcher allowed Rowley to score and ELC led 6-0.

In the fifth inning, Blake Miller's double to left field was a couple feet short of being a home run, as it hit near the top of the wall. Pinch runner Michael Houseman moved to third when the Forest City pitcher balked and scored easily on a single by Alec Heifner. Heifner then stole second base and Set Loock was hit by a pitch. With Jacobson back at the plate, Heifner alertly stole third base when the catcher bobbled a pitch. Jacobson then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put ELC up 8-0.

In the sixth inning, Rowley and Olesen each drew a walk. With one out, pinch runner Parker Rowley tagged and went to third when Miller flew out to right field. Noah Heifner, running for Olesen again, stole second. A passed ball allowed Parker Rowley to score and Bennett Loock delivered a two-out single to right field to bring Heifner home and end the game.

"I think we seniors have three more wins in us," said Jacobson. "We'll just look to play our game and see what happens."

"Already a lot of Top 10 teams have been knocked off, so we're not okay with just making it to state, we want to go for the state title," said Olesen.



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