WAVERLY — Find a way to win has been the Waverly-Shell Rock baseball team’s battle cry this season,
Monday, the Go-Hawks found another way to win.
Facing a familiar foe in Charles City, WSR had to over come several rallies and four of its own errors to pull off a 6-5, Class 3A district final victory, over the Comets.
“We got everything we wanted from the Comets and more tonight,” Go-Hawks skipper Casey Klunder said. “We knew they were going to be a tough team and that we would be in for a battle. We split a pair of games with them here earlier, and had to come from behind and beat them (9-8) up there. This was going to be a fight.”
It did not look like much of a fight in the opening inning, as they Go-Hawks and starting pitcher, Kurby Vowels cruised through the first three batters, then scratched off four runs in their half of the first.
Shortstop Carson Kallenberger delivered the big blow with a one-out double that plated Payton Leonard and Luke Willis, giving the Go-Hawks a 3-0 lead. Jeremy Chaplin tacked on another tally with a double that scored Kallenberger.
“We have seen their pitcher twice now and kind of knew what to look for,” Kallenberger said. “We got up big early but knew it would not be enough. They are a good team and they battle like crazy. We knew we had to add more runs.”
More runs were needed as the Comets (17-12) picked up a run in the second then a pair in the fourth inning.
The Go-Hawks extended their lead to 5-3 in the fourth on an RBI single by Brady Leonard bringing Carter Langreck home.
The Comets never went away as they came back with two runs in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5, with the help of a few Go-Hawks errors.
“I did not help us by making a few errors tonight,” Kallenberger said. “So I wanted to get out there and make up for it with my bat. We have a saying here to ‘Win any way,’ and I had to do what I needed to do to help make up for the mistakes.”
Kallenberger delivered on his promise once again in the botton half of the fifth frame. With two outs Kallenberger stroked his second double of the game and Chaplin brought him home with a single with what proved to be the winning run.
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“Those were big hits by Carson,” Klunder said. “When one part of your game isn’t working, then you pick it up it with the other. That’s what seniors do, they shake off their errors and come back with their bats. They win any way.”
The Go-Hawks (31-7) called on senior reliever, Luke Willis to finish the game.
Willis gave up a single to start the sixth, but retired the next six batters he faced for the save,
“We had chances throughout to win this game,” Comets coach Tyler Downing said. “They came out and punched us in the mouth with those four runs in the first, but our guys never gave up.
“I was proud of how they did not roll over after that start and almost got the job done. We preach about winning innings. Tonight we won four of the last five innings. it just was not enough.”
The seventh-ranked Go-Hawks will have to mend some fences before facing West Delaware of Manchester, Wednesday, in Waverly with a Class 3A state tournament berth on the line.
“West Delaware is a much better team than the one we faced in our second game of the year,” Klunder said. “I think both teams are significantly better, and I actually expect a higher score than last time.”
The Go-Hawks defeated the Hawks 3-2 in Manchester back in May.
Waverly-Shell Rock 6, Charles City 5
Charles City 010 220 0—5 5 1
Waverly-Shell Rock 400 110 x—6 6 4
Dylan Salinas, Cole Reams (5) and Reams, Salinas (5). Kurby Vowels, Luke Willis (5) and Carter Langreck. 2B—Colton Slinger (CC), Theo Arndt (CC), Carson Kallenberger 2 (WSR), Jeremy Chaplin (WSR).