Denison-Schleswig had no answer for Sergeant Bluff-Luton pitcher Daniel Wright, who not only shut down the Monarchs on only three hits, but blasted a three-run home run to end the game in his team’s 11-0 victory in six innings in a Class 3A, District 2 semifinal game on Friday night at Sergeant Bluff.
The loss ended the season for D-S under first-year head coach Travis Wessel at 15-17 overall.
The Monarchs jumped on the junior Wright for two hits in the first inning behind back-to-back singles with one out by Dawson Dorhout and Braiden Heiden, but a pickoff of pinchrunner Austin Scheuring for Heiden ended the inning.
Wright settled down after that not allowing another hit until Dylan Gehlsen singled past third base to open the sixth.
Wright, who retired nine straight D-S batters at one point, struck out three Monarch hitters twice and didn’t allow a baserunner to reach third base all night.
SB-L, offensively, accumulated nine hits and scored in five of the six innings, including plating three runs in the first, fourth and sixth frames.
Spencer Kleene led SB-L’s attack by going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the fourth, while finishing with three runs batted in and scoring three runs.
Wright also had a big night at the plate by going 2-for-3 with five RBIs, including a monster, three-run blast over the right field fence with no outs in the sixth that ended the game due to the 10-run rule.
SB-L leadoff batter Jake Massey also scored three runs for the Warriors, which improved to 26-13 overall with the win.
D-S used two pitchers in the loss.
Heiden opened the mound and took the loss in three innings of work, as he allowed six runs on five hits, struck out two and walked four.
Dorhout then tossed two innings in relief, yielding five runs on four hits with three walks.
"Sergeant Bluff-Luton has a very athletic team and they showed that off tonight," commented Wessel.
"The Wright kid on the mound was just dominant all night. He stands 6-7 or 6-8 and just kept us off-balanced at the plate. He was definitely in control of the zone and we didn’t do a whole lot after the first inning to change that," he added.
"We struck out six times, but for the most part, we put the ball in play. They (SB-L) just made some tremendous plays behind Wright and showed their athleticism."
"We came out right away and hit the ball, but the pickoff at second base to end the inning took away any momentum we had. Then they scored three times in their first at bat and it was just an uphill battle after that," Wessel remarked.
"It’s tough when a team gets nine hits and scores runs in bunches like they did. You know, they had two home runs and just hit the ball up and down the lineup. They just kept the pressure on us all night and we weren’t able to respond," the Monarch boss noted.
Friday’s game was the final contest for six D-S seniors in Gehlsen, Dorhout, Scheuring, Sean Moran, Jaden Petersen and Austin Freese.
"I just told the seniors to stand tall and be proud of what they accomplished this season. It’s not all about wins and losses," Wessel said.
"They should cherish the time they got to wear the Monarch uniform and represent not only themselves, but their school, their teammates and community. They have a lot of good memories to look back on throughout their careers," Wessel stated.
Despite finishing two games under .500, Wessel said that his first year as the team’s head coach was all and more than he could have asked for when the season began.
"I had a blast with this group of guys and my assistant coaches. We had some good wins and faced a lot of quality pitchers this season. I’ll never forget the win over Lewis Central and the expressions on the players’ faces after that win," Wessel said.
"We do lose six seniors and it’s tough to say bye to seniors every year, but we’ll return a good nucleus for next year and I’m already looking forward to it," Wessel stated.