Remsen St. Mary’s finishes as 1A runner-up as rally falls short
CARROLL — The Remsen St. Mary’s baseball team trimmed a four run deficit down to one run in the sixth inning and filled the bases in the seventh, but their bid for a come-from-behind win in the Class 1A state championship game fell just short as a game-ending double play gave New London an 8-7 win over the Hawks at Merchants Park on Friday.
“I give us credit, we came up big and we gave ourselves a chance to win that game or tie it in the bottom of the seventh,” RSM Head Coach Dean Harpenau said. “I can’t say enough about these guys. They’re resilient. This wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but they battled. They didn’t give up. At 8-4, that could have went the other way and we could have lost by 7, 8, 9, 10 runs.”
Hawks strike early
For their third state tournament game in a row, the top-seeded Hawks wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. The game also marked the third in a row in which Carter Schorg led off the RSM lineup with a triple as his three state tournament triples surpassed the two triples he had prior to state.
Jaxon Bunkers drove him home with a double as the team once again got back-to-back hits to start a game and score a run.
“Offensively, we were ready to play,” Harpenau said. “We came out and we pounced on that guy pretty good.”
Cael Ortmann kept the extra-base hit train rolling with a triple and he scored on a wild pitch to make it an early 3-0 lead for the Hawks against starting pitcher Dereck Santiago who had given up just three earned runs in 44 2/3 innings prior to the state tournament.
“It gave us confidence at the plate, showed the other guys that this guy’s hittable,” Ortmann said.
The Hawks added another run in the bottom of the second as Isaiah Gerrietts led off the frame with a double and he came home a couple batters later on a ground out off the bat of Brenden Fisch.
New London’s bats come alive
RSM starting pitcher Carter Schorg faced just three batters in the opening inning. He struck out the first batter, then gave up a walk, but got a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to end the inning.
The third-seeded Tigers were quick to answer RSM’s first inning runs as cleanup hitter Tucker Gibbar led off the frame with a home run, his first of the season.
The home run seemed to affect Schorg the rest of his time on the mound. He walked the next two batters and another run came home on a sacrifice fly to left field in the second inning. Schorg ended up lasting just 3 1/3 innings. He gave up eight runs, six of which were earned, on six hits and five walks. He finished with five strikeouts.
“I thought he was missing low and he couldn’t rise the ball up. That’s definitely not Carter,” Harpenau said. “First inning was great and I thought he was really in that groove. He doesn’t usually walk that many guys and he was just a little off. Sometimes that happens in baseball.”
New London added two more runs in the third, although those two were unearned as a couple of errors in the field by the Hawks helped the Tigers.
The hot-hitting Tigers, who scored 12 runs in the quarterfinals against CAM, Anita and 16 in a four inning win over Mason City Newman Catholic in the semifinals, added four runs in the fourth. Brenden Richey broke the 4-4 tie with an RBI single to left. A double and intentional walk loaded the bases for Santiago, who worked a walk to bring in a run which led to the end of the day on the mound for Schorg.
Ortmann came on in relief with runs scoring on a sacrifice fly and single. Those inherited runners were charged to Schorg. Ortmann kept New London from scoring the rest of the way as he completed 3 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
RSM rallies late
The RSM bats went quiet in the middle innings as they were sent down in order in the third and fourth. The Hawks had a chance in the fifth with back-to-back singles from Fisch and Schorg which put runners on first and second. Bunkers hit into a fielder’s choice as the third baseman stepped on the bag to get the lead runner, but the throw to try to get Bunkers at first base resulted in an error as the ball got away from the first baseman. The Hawks tried to score Schorg on the play, but he was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The Hawks were able to get even more going in the sixth inning against Kooper Schulte who came on in relief of Santiago. Hunter Pick reached on a one-out double and Alex Schroeder got aboard on an error. Collin Homan sent a ball deep to left field which was tracked down by Seth Bailey, but deep enough to allow a run to score on a sacrifice fly.
The Hawks then brought in pinch-hitter Austin Klein who entered the state tournament going 9-of-21 at the plate with no extra-base hits. The freshman was able to come through with a double to right-center field to make it an 8-6 game.
“We DH’d him a few games and he really was successful and then we gave him the pinch-hit role and he was very successful,” Harpenau said. “We always get him ready. He knows what his job is.”
Landon Waldschmitt followed with an RBI single to left to drive in pinch-runner Brody Schorg and make it a one-run game as the final run of the inning.
“It just shows what we’ve been doing all year,” Bunkers said. “We’re a team and we were going to fight no matter what the case. It’s not over until it’s over.”
The Hawks brought the top of the order to the plate down by a run in the bottom of the seventh. After Schorg flew out, Bunkers drew a walk and Ortmann reached on an error which put runners at second and third. The Tigers intentionally walked Pick to load the bases which set up a force play at every base.
Schroeder stepped to the plate and took the first pitch for a strike. The second pitch the Hawks tried to execute a squeeze play with Bunkers charging home from third, but the bunt was sent foul near the RSM dugout on the first base side. The third pitch was hit back to the pitcher and the Tigers were able to turn the 1-2-3 double play to end the game and clinch their first state title in school history as they finish the season with a 31-1 record.
RSM says goodbye to seniors, looks to future
Remsen St. Mary’s finishes the season as the 1A state runner-up with a 35-1 record. The Hawks moved to 4-3 in summer state championship games as they also took second place in 2007 and 2010.
The Hawks will say goodbye to a pair of players who graduated, Carter Schorg and Brody Schorg.
With eight of the nine from the starting lineup set to return next season, RSM will try to extend their state tournament streak to eight in 2023.
Ortmann said the team will be hungry for a chance to try to claim a title next year.
“We’re going to come back in all three sports, football, basketball and baseball,” Ortmann said. “We know what it takes to win it, we were this close in baseball.”