Remsen St. Mary’s clinches seventh straight state baseball appearance

Wednesday, July 13, 2022
(Photo Courtesy of Liz Fisch) The Remsen St. Mary’s baseball players and coaches pose with their state qualifying banner after Tuesday’s substate win. The Hawks have qualified for the state tournament for seven years in a row as they clinched their latest by beating West Harrison 12-2 in five innings.

SIOUX CITY — The dynasty continues for the Remsen St. Mary’s baseball program. The top-ranked Hawks claimed a 12-2 win over West Harrison in five innings in a Class 1A substate contest on Tuesday to secure a state tournament trip for the seventh straight season.

“The 2016 team we had great success and ended up winning the state tournament,” RSM Head Coach Dean Harpenau said. “I think then the groups after them didn’t want to let anybody down. They work hard. They don’t want to be that first group to let someone down.”

The string of consecutive appearances is now in sole possession of the third longest streak in state history. The only two longer streaks are 13 consecutive by Mason City Newman Catholic from 2008 to 2020 and eight straight by Harlan from 2011 to 2018.

“It’s hard to do. It’s not a given. To do it seven times is hard to do. Newman has done it and Harlan, but it’s not something that happens very often,” Harpenau said.

Offense starts strong

After not scoring until the seventh inning in their district final contest against Gehlen Catholic, Harpenau said it was important for the team to get the offense going early against West Harrison. The team did that by scoring four runs in the first inning.

“We talked about it was important for us to put up a crooked number,” Harpenau said. “It was very important to have a good start.”

Hunter Pick drove in the first run with a double and Alex Schroeder followed with a double of his own which scored a pair of runs. Schroeder came home on a wild pitch for the fourth run of the inning.

Bounce back after Hawkeyes score

The Hawkeyes answered for some runs in the top of the second inning. A single and walk started the inning before the Hawks were able to catch the Hawkeyes trying to steal third as catcher Landon Waldschmitt threw down to Cael Ortmann to get the out. Harpenau said that out was important to slow down the opposing team’s momentum.

“Landon helped us out by picking that guy off at third base catching,” Harpenau said. “That was a huge play for us in that inning in which could have led to a bigger inning for them and gave them momentum.”

The Hawkeyes were able to score a pair of runs with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and then an error before starting pitcher Isaiah Gerrietts was able to get out of the inning.

“It was uncharacteristic of Isaiah, he was having a hard time finding the zone,” Harpenau said. “We fought our way out of it. We for sure had one error in that inning if not two, with a ball we should have picked up and tagged a guy and we didn’t pick it up and tag him. You’re going to have that once in a while.”

Remsen St. Mary’s answered for one run in the second and then added four runs in the third. The four runs in the third all scored with two outs. Carter Schorg cleared the bases with a triple and Jaxon Bunkers hit a double to bring Schorg home.

(Photo Courtesy of Liz Fisch) RSM Head Coach Dean Harpenau greets Carter Schorg at third base after his bases-clearing triple. Schorg also scored three times in the win.

Finish off game early

The Hawks added a run in the fourth before they were able to end the game early with two runs in the fifth which pushed the margin to 10 runs. A balk brought in a run and then Ortmann hit a single to end the game as Brenden Fisch scored the run to make it a 10 run margin.

Bunkers pitched the final three innings for the Hawks. He gave up just one hit and finished with four strikeouts in his time on the mound.

(Photo Courtesy of Liz Fisch) Jaxon Bunkers throws a pitch in the substate game. He gave up just one hit and struck out four in the final three innings.

“He shut them down the rest of the way and that was key,” Harpenau said.

Nine different players recorded a hit for the Hawks. Pick was the only player with a multi-hit game as he had a single and double in the contest.

The team scored nine of their runs against starter Koleson Evans who went 2 2/3 innings. The final three runs came home against Mason McIntosh who threw the final two innings.

(Photo Courtesy of Liz Fisch) West Harrison’s Walker Rife and Remsen St. Mary’s first baseman Collin Homan collide in a play near first base. Homan walked twice and drove in a run in the game.

Looking to stay in Carroll all week

Remsen St. Mary’s is hoping to make their trip to Carroll a week-long stay. The Hawks have earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament, something Harpenau said is a reflection of the team’s perfect 33-0 record.

“By winning all of our regular season games, you are rewarded by being the No. 1 seed which can give you a little bit easier way through the state tournament,” Harpenau said.

(Photo Courtesy of Liz Fisch) The Remsen St. Mary's baseball team celebrates their substate win to advance to the state tournament for the seventh straight year.

The first round opponent for the Hawks will be South Winneshiek of Calmar who enters with a 23-8 record. The game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Monday.

Harpenau said the team can’t overlook the eighth-seeded Warriors as they knocked off No. 4 ranked Kee in the substate round. Kee was the team which beat the Hawks in last year’s state semifinals.

“What will catch our kids’ attention is that they beat Kee, Lansing,” Harpenau said. “We know Kee had a lot of guys coming back.”

If Remsen St. Mary’s can win three games at state, they would join an exclusive list of just 11 other teams in state history who have gone undefeated while winning a summer state championship. The last team to do so was Twin Cedars in 1A in 2014.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: