Trailing in the bottom of the sixth, the Wolverines got back-to-back home runs from juniors Gus Varney and Nick Reinicke that pushed DNH over the top and bring the Spartans’ season to a close.
“I just think that the guys swing hard and when they find their pitch, they really drive on it,” Dike-New Hartford coach Jordan Martin said. “All season long, we’ve been power hitters and we just stepped it up a little bit more today.”
Reinicke was also the one to put the Wolverines on the board with a solo home run in the second inning. Another run in the third inning by senior Devon Kollasch helped them widen their lead 2-0. In addition to being their catcher, Reinicke has proven himself to be an effective cleanup hitter for the Wolverines, saying the position has enhanced his offensive output.
“I’m seeing pitches constantly the whole game, so it helps to be able to pick up pitches better,” Reinicke said. “I think it helps me a lot, honestly.”
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However, the Wolverines didn’t have long to celebrate their lead, as sophomore Colin Gordon pounded in two runs with a double, instantly tying the game at the top of the fourth, another RBI by Pat Brown III put the Spartans in the lead in the fifth.
Now down 3-2 with one out in the sixth inning, Varney stepped into the box and hit a solo home run to tie the game back up. Reinicke then stepped in for his second homer of the evening.
“I mean, Gus hitting it over there ties it up, that takes a lot of pressure off me, because obviously, you’ve got to scrape across one run to keep it tied and keep the game alive,” he said. “But he took a lot of pressure off me. And honestly, I was just trying to get a base hit, and I got a hold of one and it ended up going over.”
Also pitching relief, Varney held the line through the final two innings, giving them the win.
Despite this the end of its run, Grundy Center head coach Pat Brown said that he was proud of his team. The Spartans often punched above their weight class and came within inches of beating the favored Wolverines, and still came out with their best season in nearly 30 years.
“We’re just a small, two-stoplight town in the middle of a cornfield, and these kids can play baseball,” Brown said. “They came to play baseball, and I think they built our stock up throughout the state.”
Photos: Dike-New Hartford baseball vs. Grundy Center in Class 2A semifinal
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DNH 4, Grundy Center 3
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Sawyer and Brown. Costello, Varney (6) and Reinicke. 2B – GC: Gordon. Brown. 2B – DNH: Kollasch. HR: Reinicke 2, Varney.