SPENCER - In three postseason games, Spirit Lake hasn't looked like the team that finished the regular season winning just two of their last 10 games.
The Indians' bats stayed hot, as did the arm of senior ace Brandon Stoll, against rival Western Christian in a Class 2A Substate game in Spencer on Tuesday.
Stoll struck out 12 batters and Spirit Lake pounded out nine hits in the 5-0 shut out.
Spirit Lake players celebrate their Class 2A Substate 5-0 win over Western Christian Tuesday in Spencer. The Indians will make a trip to the state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines on Monday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Spirit Lake had lost to the Wolfpack in both regular season meetings.
But Western Christian could do little against Stoll, who allowed just four hits.
"It was a team effort," said Stoll after the game. "We've been hitting the ball well and coach Jason Schneider) has been working with us on our swings. Even though we went 2-8 at the end of the season, we knew we could get the sticks going."
Spirit Lake advances to the state tournament in Principal Park in Des Moines. The Indians (16-10) are seeded sixth and will take on the third seed Kuemper Catholic (28-6) at 6 p.m., Monday, July 29.
In each of Spirit Lake's postseason games, the Indians have struck first and Tuesday's game was no different.
The first two Indians runs were unearned.
In the bottom of the second, Nile Skogerboe reached on an error and Cole Thate singled. Skogerboe scored when Andrew Ites reached on the Wolfpack's second error.
The Indians continued to take advantage of Western Christian miscues. Nick Amundson reached on an error with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, making it to second on the overthrow of first base by the shortstop. Reece Salmon then doubled to bring home the run.
Western Christian lost an opportunity in the top of the fifth when the leadoff batter singled, but then was picked off at first by Stoll. After Stoll's ninth strikeout, The Indians' first error of the night opened the door. Another single put runners at the corners. But Stoll shut the door by striking out Western Christian's Tyler Van Engen.
Spirit Lake, who saw Van Engen on the mound in each of the regular season contests, added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Thate led off with a single to right, stole second base and went to third when Ites grounded out to short. Paul Brown hit grounder to third and Western Christian tried to get Thate at home, but the throw was late while Brown reached first safely. Stoll followed with a double to deep right-center to put runners at second and third. Amundson followed with a double of his own to complete the scoring for the game.
Thate finished 3-3 while Stoll was 3-4. Amundson, Salmon and Tony Eckart each went 1-4.