Prep Baseball

North Linn has injured players back as it seeks state baseball return

Lynx host Waterloo Columbus in district final Saturday

North Linn's Trevor Boge tags out Lisbon's Jake Jennett as he tries to reach second base after an error during a Class 1A state semifinal game at Principal Park in Des Moines on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (The Gazette)
North Linn's Trevor Boge tags out Lisbon's Jake Jennett as he tries to reach second base after an error during a Class 1A state semifinal game at Principal Park in Des Moines on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (The Gazette)

TROY MILLS — North Linn’s baseball team experienced a run of bad luck, but its results don’t necessarily show it.

At one point this season, senior leaders David Seber, Trevor Boge and Jake Hilmer were all hampered by injuries. The Lynx handled it with limited bumps along the way.

Second-ranked North Linn has mostly healed for the postseason and hosts Waterloo Columbus in a Class 2A district final Saturday night. The Lynx opened district play Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Jesup, improving to 36-5.

“We’re pretty healthy again,” North Linn Coach Travis Griffith said. “We just have to get back in the groove and start doing better at the plate.”

Most of last year’s 1A state semifinal lineup returned, but the program bumped up a class this year. Interestingly, the Lynx dropped three straight games to ranked 1A Tri-Rivers Conference foes Alburnett and Calamus-Wheatland.

Griffith said they had to rely on some younger players to step in as teammates worked back to 100 percent. Austin Hilmer was one of them, moving to the left side of the infield from his normal outfield position. He also pitched a complete-game shutout against fourth-ranked Calamus-Wheatland to end the three-game skid and even moved into the leadoff spot of the batting order.

“We had a couple guys step up big,” Griffith said. “Austin Hilmer was one of them who stepped up and shouldered some of the load for us.

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“No complaints and no worries. He went right into shortstop and third base and didn’t miss a beat. He probably stepped up as our No. 3 pitcher for the postseason as well.”

The Lynx still have scored 421 runs this season, tallying 91 more than the next 2A team, and their 400 hits are 43 more than Treynor, which ranks second in 2A. North Linn leads the class with a 1.23 earned-run average, but will have a challenge against a Sailors offense that is fourth in 2A with 309 hits. Columbus (25-14) is much tougher than its record might indicate.

“Waterloo Columbus is a very quality team,” Griffith said. “They’re good.”

North Linn is attempting for its fourth state berth in the last five seasons. No discussions about sending the seniors off in Des Moines have occurred, but playing at Principal Park is a goal. The Lynx aren’t looking any further ahead than the Sailors.

“We just focus on getting better at the little things we haven’t done well here lately,” Griffith said. “Yeah, it’s caught in the back of everybody’s heads, I’m sure. Really, it’s just about what we have to do to be playing our best baseball Saturday night.”

In a 2A district final rematch from a year ago, Cascade (24-10) hosts Oelwein (20-11) at American Legion Field. The Huskies upset then-No. 1 Cascade in this round last season.

Eighth-ranked Dyersville Beckman (26-12) will face Camanche (17-12) at Commercial Club Park. West Branch (18-7) travels to Mid-Prairie (18-11) at Wellman.

In Class 1A, third-ranked Alburnett (30-5) hosts North Tama (21-9) in a District 9 final. The winner advances to face the winner of a District 10 final between HLV (24-3) and BGM (17-11) at Victor.

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South Winneshiek (27-9) plays Wapsie Valley (27-12) at Calmar. Lone Tree (13-11) heads to Calamus-Wheatland (32-3) and Iowa Mennonite (13-7) hosts a district final against Pekin (15-8).

Saturday’s Class 2A district finals

All times 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted

SUBSTATE 1

West Sioux (19-5) at No. 4 West Lyon (27-1)

Pocahontas Area (23-4) at No. 10 Estherville-Lincoln Central (27-2)

SUBSTATE 2

Osage (18-6) at No. 7 New Hampton (26-9)

Oelwein (20-11) at Cascade (24-10), 2 p.m.

SUBSTATE 3

Camanche (17-12) at No. 8 Dyersville Beckman (26-12)

West Branch (18-7) at Mid-Prairie (18-11)

SUBSTATE 4

Mediapolis (19-8) at No. 1 Wilton (23-4)

Davis County (17-11) at Central Lee (19-2)

SUBSTATE 5

Waterloo Columbus (25-14) at No. 2 North Linn (36-5)

Pella Christian (16-14) at West Marshall (27-5)

SUBSTATE 6

Roland-Story (17-18) at No. 3 Dike-New Hartford (28-5)

Des Moines Christian (26-8) at Woodward-Granger (23-7)

SUBSTATE 7

Carroll Kuemper (18-13) at Ogden (19-12)

Interstate 35 (15-14) at No. 5 Van Meter (29-3)

SUBSTATE 8

Underwood (24-4) at No. 6 Treynor (27-10)

Alta-Aurelia (17-9) at No. 9 Hinton (25-4)

 

Saturday’s Class 1A district finals

All times 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted

SUBSTATE 1

Lawton-Bronson (14-11) at No. 8 Kingsley-Pierson (28-4)

Woodbury Central (21-13) at No. 10 Remsen St. Mary’s (24-7)

SUBSTATE 2

Newell-Fonda (16-14) at Sioux Central (16-11)

West Fork (22-8) at No. 1 Mason City Newman (33-3)

SUBSTATE 3

North Butler (13-9) at No. 7 Saint Ansgar (24-9), 11 a.m.

Wapsie Valley (27-12) at South Winneshiek (27-9)

SUBSTATE 4

Lone Tree (13-11) at No. 4 Calamus-Wheatland (32-3)

Pekin (15-8) at Iowa Mennonite (13-7)

SUBSTATE 5

North Tama (21-9) at No. 3 Alburnett (30-5)

BGM (17-11) at HLV (24-3)

SUBSTATE 6

No. 6 Don Bosco (26-4) at Hudson (14-12)

Central Decatur (12-17) at Moravia (18-11)

SUBSTATE 7

Lamoni (24-4) at No. 2 Martensdale-St. Marys (32-6)

Logan-Magnolia (14-14) at Council Bluffs St. Albert (23-13)

SUBSTATE 8

Audubon (13-13) at No. 5 Southeast Warren (27-5)

Woodbine (17-6) at No. 9 Coon Rapids-Bayard (27-4)

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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