CEDAR RAPIDS — The North Linn baseball team relied on a different way to win Tuesday night.
“We’re a pitching-and-defense team,” Coach Travis Griffith said, after his Class 2A third-ranked Lynx outscored 1A No. 2 Don Bosco, 10-5. “But our offense showed up tonight and did some things when we needed to.”
The Lynx improved to 19-1 by overcoming a pair of deficits, including 3-0 in the third inning. A four-run fifth finally put them over the top.
Sophomore catcher Alex Sturbaum had a run-scoring single that put North Linn ahead for good, 6-5. Nathan McEnany followed with a two-run single.
“A couple of our guys have played the past couple of years, so they know what to do in those big games,” said North Linn’s Austin Hilmer, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and a RBI. “We knew when we got down, we could come back ... They didn’t have their ace, they didn’t have their two (and) three guy. We knew if we kept working, we were going to get some runs.”
Don Bosco (11-2) came into this game averaging 13.9 runs. This is a legit offense that peppered North Linn all-stater Jake Hilmer for seven hits and five runs (four earned) in five innings.
Hilmer hadn’t given up an earned run this season. Don Bosco leadoff hitter Kendall Becker doubled three times in the game, walked, scored three times and knocked in a run.
“They hit the crap out of it,” Griffith said. “That’s as hard as I’ve seen Jake hit in a long time. Maybe Lisbon one game last year he got hit hard, but they’re 1 through 4 tonight ...”
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Hilmer still was able to post the victory to improve his career mark to 52-5. Griffith said he believed that win total is a new state record.
David Seber threw two shutout relief innings for the save.
Both of these teams were 1A state qualifiers last season. North Linn has moved up a class this season because of enrollment.
“We were down there, 3-0, kind of flat, kind of on our heels,” Griffith said. “But our kids came back and responded really well. Hats off to them for doing that. A lot of teams would have folded up. Don Bosco is really good, had us on the ropes ... I’m just happy we came out of it alive.”
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