Warriors tame Mustangs in district

FORT DODGE, Iowa – Parker Oleson proved to be accurate on the golf course and the baseball diamond.

The junior lefty homered the No. 6-seeded North Union Warriors to an 8-0 victory over the No. 3-seeded Newell-Fonda Mustangs in the Iowa Class 1A, District 4 quarterfinals Tuesday at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.

North Union (15-15) moves on to play Bishop Garrigan in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. Newell-Fonda ended the season with a 12-15 record.

The Warriors previously defeated Bishop Garrigan of Algona twice during the regular season with Colin Runksmeier pitching.

“When you get in the tournaments, you’re just trying to survive and advance,” said Warriors head coach Chad Slagle. “Coming in, we’re the 6 seed and they’re the 3 seed, I thought we had the right attitude and mindset. I was really happy with our approach to start the game, so we did a really good job with our hitting.”

Runksmeier had got on base via a Mustangs’ error in the first, while Riley Bauer had a hit in the second, but neither were able to score.

But in the third, Oleson smacked a one-out, two-run home run, bringing in Runksmeier, who had a leadoff double.

“We rallied around him,” Slagle said of Oleson and his home run. “It got us going, a little life in the dugout. The hitters got some confidence going up there.”

Trent Pedersen followed with a single to left field, while Mustangs starting pitcher Reed Kruse hit Blake Crawmer with a pitch. Bauer had a second hit, allowing Pedersen to get home for the 3-0 advantage.

Kruse walked Tanner Doocy, and Crawmer scored on the ball-four wild pitch before walking Ryan Larson. Runksmeier, who went 2-for-5, recorded a two-run single as Bauer and Doocy put up the Warriors’ fifth and sixth runs.

Elliott Hagebock, Larson’s courtesy runner, scored on a wild pitch for the 7-0 lead before Braden Ortman grounded out.

“I thought we had good swings on their best pitcher. It was pretty key for us to score right away,” Slagle said.

Bauer singled again to bring Pedersen in. Pedersen had previously hit a one-out single to left field to reach.

“Riley was in some big situations and came out with some big hits that we really needed,” Slagle said. “It seemed like every time he was up, he drove in some runs. That’s awesome for a young kid, sophomore coming in some big spots, getting the job done for us.”

Defensively, Runksmeier and the Warriors retired the first seven batters before Runksmeier walked Jesse Haack. But Runksmeier struck out the next two batters to leave Haack, who stole a base, stranded on second.

The Mustangs got their first hit in the fifth inning when RJ Rojas led off with a single to left field. But the Warriors’ defense successfully executed a double play when Taylor Horeid flew out to center and Rojas was tagged out trying to get back to first.

Jordan Jones and Haack each got hit, but the Warriors got the final out, and retired the final six batters, including two strikeouts, to take the shutout win.

“Colin showed some great leadership out there on the mound. … He was lights-out. He was around the zone the whole time, kept their hitters right in check,” Slagle said. “Our defense did really well.”

Runksmeier struck out 10 batters with one walk and gave up only three hits to earn the win.

NU 007 100 0-8 8 1

NF 000 000 0-0 3 1

Colin Runksmeier (WP) and Ryan Larson. Reed Kruse (LP), RJ Rojas (3) and RJ Rojas, Cody Voss (3).

LOB-North Union 8, Newell-Fonda 3. 2B-Colin Runksmeier (NU). HR-Parker Oleson (NU).