Mustangs eliminate Warriors in district baseball playoffs

FONDA, Iowa — Newell-Fonda’s No. 7 batter Austin Gerdes entered Tuesday night’s Iowa Class 1A, District 3 baseball quarterfinal with a .300 batting average and 14 RBIs.

Gerdes improved his overall offensive numbers by going 4-for-4 with a game-best four RBIs to help power the Mustangs to a 15-5, five-inning playoff victory over the North Union Warriors.

Newell-Fonda (17-11) advances to face Sioux Central in a 5 p.m. district semifinal Thursday at Bishop Garrigan in Algona. Sioux Central defeated Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, 6-1, to reach the next round of the postseason.

North Union ended its season with a 5-18 overall record.

Trailing 13-2, the Warriors plated three runs on three hits in the top of the fifth to temporarily avoid the loss via the 10-run rule.

Avery Krantz lined a leadoff single and wheeled to third base on Noah Morphew’s second double of the game down the right-field line. Krantz then scored on Brendan Anderson’s RBI fielder’s choice that did not produce an out.

Morphew later scored North Union’s fourth run by swiping home on an unsuccessful pickoff attempt of Anderson at first base. Anderson later crossed the plate on Brody Fritche’s RBI single.

The Warriors produced solo runs in the third and fourth. Elliott Hagebock walked and eventually scored on Morphew’s RBI double in the third. Blake Crawmer smacked a leadoff home run to deep left field to start the top of the fourth for North Union.

Nate Pedersen, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, drove in a run and also scored during Newell-Fonda’s three-run bottom of the first. Gerdes delivered a clutch two-run single with the bases loaded to highlight the Mustangs’ early 3-0 lead.

Haack later assisted his own pitching cause by lining the first of four consecutive hits that led to four third-inning runs for a 7-1 margin.

Hogan Henrich, who went 2-for-3, drilled an RBI triple to plate Haack before Henrich scored on Taylor Hereid’s ensuing RBI single. Gerdes followed with a single before a wild pitch and error allowed both Hereid and Gerdes to score.

Gerdes’ run-scoring single, Cody Voss’ RBI infield hit, Bryce Coppock’s two-run single, AJ Rojas’ RBI double and Pedersen’s run-producing infield hit paced the Mustangs’ six-run stampede in the the bottom of the fourth.

Henrich and Gerdes each singled and scored the final two runs in the bottom of the fifth with one out to exit the ballpark early. Gerdes’ single drove in Henrich before Gerdes was awarded the last run courtesy of a balk.

Haack allowed five earned runs on five hits in five frames to earn the victory for Newell-Fonda. Haack recorded a game-best nine strikeouts, issued one walk and hit one batter.