The Woodward-Granger baseball team saw its season come to an end on Tuesday night in Norwalk. The Hawks fell to Centerville 2-1 in the Substate Finals, coming up just one game short of qualifying for the State Tournament.
The Hawks finished with an overall record of 29-6 and shared the West Central Activities Conference title with the Van Meter Bulldogs.
District Finals vs. Des Moines Christian
The Woodward-Granger baseball team is one win away from a State Baseball Tournament appearance. The Hawks (29-5) eliminated the Des Moines Christian Lions (21-12) in the District Finals on Saturday night on their home turf in Granger by a final score of 3-0 behind a fourth-inning surge.
The Hawks have played the Lions three times this year and have won all three matchups, including a 10-0 win on June 12 in Urbandale and a 5-3 win on June 20 in Granger.
“Historically, and this year, you play a team three times, it’s hard to beat them,” said W-G coach Eric Evans after the win on Saturday. “I can’t be more excited for this program, this community, these kids. It’ll hit me later, but that was awesome.”
The familiarity of a conference opponent played into the preparation for the Hawks.
“I’ve got a great coaching staff. We scout and scout and scout,” Evans said. “There’s not somebody in the dugout that’s not doing some kind of chart on somebody.
“We feel, going into every game, as long as we don’t get in our own way, there’s not anything we don’t know and we can’t execute, so we put ourselves in a good spot that way.”
The scoreboard showed zeroes by six out of seven innings as the Hawks put up all three of their runs against the Lions in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Marcus McConahay started off the fourth inning, reaching first base on a throwing error by the Lions’ short stop, and advancing to second base. On the next at bat of the inning, McConahay made it from second to home for the first run of the game.
Later in the inning, Hawks’ senior, Matt Rhodes, belted one to left field that hit off the wall and allowed Nick Brummond to cross the plate to put the Hawks up 2-0 over the Lions. The third and final run of the inning, and the game, was scored when Matt Buch singled, allowing Rhodes to cross the plate and put the Hawks up 3-0.
Spencer Hanson pitched all seven innings for the Hawks, recording the shutout. Hanson struck out the final batter and ended the game with 104 pitches and had only one pitch left before he would have needed to leave the game due to pitch count rules.
Des Moines Christian advanced to the District Finals because Interstate 35 violated the pitch count rule in the semifinals, resulting in a forfeit for the Roadrunners. Evans said they were keeping an eye on Hanson’s pitch count throughout the game.
Hanson will not be available to pitch for the Hawks in the Substate Finals on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a great (pitching) staff,” Evans said. “We’ll be fine.”
The Hawks will take on Centerville in the Substate Finals. Centerville advanced to the Substate Finals with a 4-1 win over Pella Christian on Saturday.
“I told the boys, all you want is a chip in the chair, right?” Evans said. “You just want a place at the table and they did everything they had to do. They played flawless baseball there and they came out confident and did what we needed to do, so that’s all you can ask for.”
The game will take place in Indianola and begins at 7 p.m.