116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Prep Sports
Ryan Manternach powers Monticello in district semifinal victory
DYERSVILLE — Baseball players can be superstitious, or better yet, creatures of habit.
Monticello junior right-hander Ryan Manternach follows a specific routine when he pitches. He is pretty particular about his warm-up throws between innings.
'I throw a fastball, then two sliders, then I go to the stretch to throw a slider and a fastball,' Manternach said. 'If I do something different then it gets me nervous.'
The routine paid dividends. Manternach contained any butterflies he may have had in his first postseason start, throwing a shutout in the Panthers 3-0 victory over Clayton Ridge/Central in a Class 2A District 7 semifinal Tuesday night at Commercial Club Park.
Manternach scattered three hits, throwing just 83 pitches through six innings and improving to 4-2. Kyle Sperfslage tossed one inning of scoreless relief for his second save.
The start was one of Manternach's best outings, striking out four.
'Ryan's very effective when he establishes his fastball,' Monticello Coach Josh Soper said. 'He establishes it in, out, typically he's going to keep the ball down.
'He pitched well. We like to play quick baseball. We want to attack the strike zone. I was really happy for Ryan and how he competed.'
Manternach was on the mound when the Panthers' season ended last season, pitching 2/3 innings in the district final against Dyersville Beckman. He struggled, walking three, allowing a hit and allowing two runs. He learned from that performance.
'It provided me with some experience,' Manternach said. 'I knew what it's like going into it. I knew the strike zone was going to be a little smaller and I have to make pitches and hit my spots better.'
The Panthers (22-6) received all of the run support in the middle innings with a run in the third and two in the fourth.
Manternach drove in the game-winning run. He stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a bouncer to the left side shortstop Jace Moore knocked down. The infield single drove in Tyler Hospodarsky for a 1-0 lead.
'I got down with two strikes so at that point I was just trying to make contact to put the ball in play, trying to make them make a mistake or hit it hard on the ground somewhere,' said Manternach, who finished with two hits. 'I got lucky and hit one between short and third.'
Hospodarsky helped add to the lead. He laid down an excellent squeeze bunt for a single that scored Avery Martensen from third. Soper knew they needed a run and the Panthers work on that play.
'We tell the kids we have so many tools in the toolbox,' Soper said. 'It's a matter of when we have to break them out, if we have to break them out.
'He executed it perfectly. Our runner at third executed it perfectly.'
Gavin Cooper followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Jon Mootz for the final run. Sperfslage matched Manternach with a team-high two hits.
Monticello advances to the district final for the fifth time in six years, according to Soper. They will play the winner of Waukon and Beckman here Saturday.
Monticello has run into tough teams and rough luck in the past, but this year's team has been different, winning a conference title for the first time in 51 years.
'This year, we've had such a positive team,' Soper said. 'Why not us? Why not now? We'll be ready to play Saturday night.'
The WarEagles (21-11) were eliminated by the Panthers for second straight season. Nick Sylvester, Kole Brandel, Austin Helle and Eric Ihde each had a hit for CR/C. Helle threw two innings of shutout relief, striking out five.
BECKMAN AND WAUKON POSTPONED
Seventh-ranked Beckman and Waukon played one inning when weather forced an early end to action Tuesday at Commercial Club Park. The Blazers and Indians were deadlocked, 2-2, when it was postponed after an extended lightning delay. The game will be resumed here Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m.
Waukon took advantage of some miscues and control problems for runs in the top of the first, including three errors and a hit batsman. Logan Sullivan and Mitchell Snitker raced home when the Blazers shortstop mishandled a two-out grounder and followed it with an errant flip to second for an out.
The Blazers answered with three hits in the bottom of the inning. Colin Koelker led off with a single and scored on Joel Vaske's line-drive double down the left field line. Jackson Bennett walked and scored on Sam Oberbroeckling's bases-loaded walk, tying the game.
l Comments: (319) 368-8679; email@example.com