CEDAR FALLS — One month and 17 days meant a world of difference to the Don Bosco baseball team. To Lewis Havel, too.
The sophomore pitcher was a big-game pitcher Tuesday night at Robinson-Dresser Complex, as his Dons upset fifth-ranked Alburnett, 4-2, in a Class 1A substate final.
Back on June 1, Alburnett doubled up Don Bosco, 12-6, and put a hurting on Havel. He couldn’t get past three innings, giving up seven runs and taking the ‘L.’
This was a different dude.
“We had a couple of guys sick that day,” the right-hander said. “I couldn’t throw a curve or a slider, none of my stuff was on. But going into this game, we’ve been playing great ball. I’ve been playing with these boys since we were in third grade, and the chemistry was just there tonight. I knew we weren’t going to lose this game. I knew I had to come through for my team. That’s what happened tonight.”
Havel gave up just four hits and one unearned run here before hitting his pitch limit with two outs in the seventh. He also had a RBI single in a four-run top of the first that was telltale.
That was all Don Bosco (25-8) did against Alburnett starter Keaton Parker, who was spectacular the rest of the way. He even hit a solo home run against reliever Easton Larson.
But that was it for the Pirates (34-7), who just couldn’t get that clutch hit. They left two guys on in the first, third and sixth and stranded the bases loaded in the fourth.
Havel made every big pitch, able to bail out his teammates, who made five errors behind him.
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“I don’t think he was anything different than he was before,” Alburnett Coach Ryan Stensland said. “You tip your cap to them. They made the plays when they had to tonight. He pitched out of some jams, and that was the difference. He didn’t necessarily pitch out of those jams earlier in the season (against us). Tonight he was able to.”
This is the second state tournament in three years for Don Bosco and its fourth in six years. Alburnettt was seeking its second state trip, the other coming in 2006.
With only two seniors on the roster, the Pirates should be a handful again in 2019.
“We get two guys picked off, they make five errors,” Stensland said. “I mean, boy, I knew we were going to need some breaks coming in tonight. I didn’t expect we’d get that many. We just didn’t quite get the job done offensively.”
“They had a plan. We were missing on some stuff. After he settled down, he threw a great game. Everybody says that, we wish we could have that first inning back. They put those runs up on the board and kind of said ‘OK, this is what you’ve got to get to beat us.’ We just didn’t quite get that.”
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