Prep Baseball

Oelwein stuns No. 1 Cascade in 2A district baseball final

Huskies a win away from state with 5-2 upset

CASCADE — If you weren’t wearing purple and gold, you probably did not expect this result.

The 20 players on Oelwein’s baseball roster believed it was possible. If you can believe it, you can achieve it.

Oelwein received an impressive outing from pitcher Steven Nicolay and used a big first inning to upset top-ranked Cascade, 5-2, in the Class 2A District 6 final Saturday night at American Legion Field.

A few gloves were thrown in the air and the celebration was on as the Huskies (16-14) advance to the Substate 3 final against Denver (17-13) on Tuesday at Independence.

“I was ecstatic,” Nicolay said. “I didn’t know how to feel. I was pumped up out of my mind.”

The Huskies entered the game knowing they needed their best performance and effort of the season. They produced in all facets of the game, limiting a potent Cascade offense, committing just one error and grabbing an early 4-0 lead before Cascade had a chance to grab their bats.

“I think our kids believed they can compete tonight and they did,” Oelwein Coach Jason Gearhart said. “They competed from the first to the seventh inning. Our hitters competed in the batter’s box, Steven Nicolay pitched a great game and our defense made no errors.

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“We had to play a darn near perfect game to beat Cascade and we played a darn near perfect game.”

Nicolay threw 6 1/3 innings, scattering eight hits and three hits. He allowed multiple baserunners in five of the first six innings but was able to work out of jams and avoid the big inning.

“I just trusted my defense that’s the main thing,” Nicolay said. “I just had to throw the ball hard. I knew Cascade was a good hitting team.”

The Huskies received a little help with two hit batsmen to start the game. Nicolay singled to load the bases and Zach Sailor delivered a two-run single to right-center field, scoring Dom Robertson and Sayer Woodson.

Mason Kunkle added an RBI groundout and Austin Conner capped the scoring with an RBI double for a 4-0 lead before Cascade even grabbed its bats.

The lead relaxed Nicolay before he even had to throw a pitch.

“It helped me a ton, knowing we had four runs to work with,” said Nicolay, who led Oelwein with two hits. “Just have fun with it.”

The Huskies manufactured a run in the fifth. Woodson walked, stole second and scored when Nicolay reached on a scoring error, making it 5-2.

Cascade (31-5) couldn’t produce the big inning early. The Cougars started chipping away at Oelwein’s lead thanks to leadoff doubles. Reid Rausch hit one to start the bottom of the second. Riley Reed, who led Cascade with three hits, singled to drive in Rausch.

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The Cougars’ last run came in the third. Brock Simon doubled and scored on a wild pitch, making it 4-2.

“Nicolay competed on the mound for them,” Cascade Coach Roamn Hummel said. “I don’t think they did anything overly crazy. We just didn’t come up with the hit. I think that was the biggest scenario that we were in. We had a bunch of guys on base and we weren’t able to come up with the knock that we needed.”

Logan Otting and Rausch each had two hits for the Cougars.

Denver (17-13) recorded its own upset, beating eight-ranked New Hampton, 7-2, Saturday night.

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

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