It was a game that can only be described as state tournament worthy that unfortunately fell against the Dallas Center-Grimes baseball team during postseason opening round action Friday night.
The Mustangs were matched up against the 29-11 Knoxville Panthers in the opening game of the Class 3A District 14 tournament in Grinnell. It was a back and forth contest that unfortunately fell against the Mustangs when Knoxville’s Ben Wallace belted a two run home run in the bottom of the seventh to defeat DC-G 5-3.
The Mustangs played what many deemed a state championship caliber game including Mustang head coach Byron Peyton.
“I could have easily seen this as a state tournament game,” said Peyton. “Both teams played well on both sides and every run you got you truly earned.”
After a slight rain delay to begin the game the Mustangs earned the first run of the game on a Justin Biegger home run to left, his second home run of the season. After fouling off four pitches and driving the count full, it was a big part of a solid night for the senior, and a hit that stood out to coach Peyton.
“Justin isn’t considered a power hitter but he does have great fundamentals and you saw that in the home run,” said Peyton.
That home run gave the Mustangs the early 1-0 advantage which held for just half an inning before the Panthers scored on a passed ball to even it up. Knoxville took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third on the team’s sixth home run of the season and increased the lead even more the very next inning with the team’s seventh home run on the year. That put Knoxville up front 3-1 which held all the way until the seventh inning.
Dallas Center-Grimes fell short of breaking into the lead in the sixth but did scrape across two runs in the top of the seventh to tie up the game. Three hits, and RBI sacrifice fly, and a run scoring error constituted the top of the seventh for the Mustangs. The three hits in the inning came from Logan Smith, Isaac Boley, and the fourth double of the season by Bryce Jermier.
From there the Mustangs were riding high through most of the bottom half of the seventh as Zach Beekman came in relief on the mound. After two outs the Mustangs were eyeing a chance to get the bats going again but a last second two run home run by Knoxville officially ended the season for DC-G.
Bryce Jermier totaled the most hits of any Mustang in the game with two including that big double in the seventh. On the mound Logan Smith went the distance with six innings of work while striking out a single game season high ten batters.
The Mustangs end the 2018 campaign with a record of 8-22 but the season was one that coach Peyton described as better than the record.
“People might look at the record we have and say we didn’t have much of a shot but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” began Peyton. “This team had a lot of drive in them and played against some of the top Class 5A schools in the state. It was just one of those years where things just didn’t go our way but we were a solid team all around and we were better than our record indicated.”
The Mustangs will be losing five seniors from this year’s roster including home run leader Brandon Risius, Justin Biegger, Cade Bertrand, Tyler Merical, and Jacob Comer.