Surging Tigers snap Cyclones’ state tourney run
HARLAN (July 24) -- Longtime Harlan Community head coach Steve Daeges has often used the phrase, “That’s baseball,” to describe the subtle nuances of the sport, in particular the propensity for any team beating another on any given day.
On Wednesday night at Jim Goeser Field, baseball happened to the fifth-ranked Cyclones.
Just one win away from extending its incredible streak of state tournament trips to nine in a row, HCHS was upended by an underdog Adel-DeSoto-Minburn team getting hot at the right time and a talented lefty who pitched the game of his life.
Senior Logan Crannell struck out nine batters in a dominant one-hit performance and the pesky Tigers scratched out three runs against Harlan senior Brett Sears - striking out just five times - to knock off the Cyclones 3-1 in a tidy 75-minute Class 3A, Substate 8 final.
ADM, coached by Walnut native Jason Book, will take a 13-17 record to the state tournament in Des Moines and face top-seeded Cedar Rapids Xavier (38-2) in a July 30 quarterfinal. The Cyclones, who have finished the last four years in the 3A state title game, closed shop at 26-8 and made their earliest postseason exit since 2010.
“The kid was dominant,” Daeges said of Crannell. “Brett was good and Crannell was better... You just have to tip your hat to them. They outplayed us tonight and sometimes that happens.”
Book’s team entered district play with a 10-17 record before beating three teams seeded above them. They routed Glenwood in the first round Friday, 15-3, followed by back-to-back 3-1 wins over Dallas-Center-Grimes and HCHS.
Book said the team has made big strides during the last three weeks but the results didn’t always show it in the win-loss column until the last six days. Crannell was certainly the star on Wednesday, but the Tigers became even more dangerous by playing a care-free brand of baseball.
“They were way looser than I was, that’s for sure,” Book said of his players. “One of the last statements that we made [before the game] was, ‘The pressure is not on us, it’s on Harlan. They’re the ones that are supposed to be there so just go play and have fun.’”
Even with Wednesday’s result, Crannell is just 3-6 with a 3.99 earned average after facing a long list of talented teams throughout the summer. Those numbers do not match up with the pitcher who toed the rubber against the Cyclones. Mixing a fastball in the mid-80s with a solid breaking ball, Crannell allowed HCHS just three base runners all night: a first-inning walk to Sears, who came around to score on a balk, a ground ball and a wild pitch; a sharp second-inning single by Derec Weyer to right field; and a fifth-inning hit batter (Riley Kohles). Overall, he retired 17 of the last 18 batters.
ADM outhit Harlan 8-1 and neither side made an error. The key for the Tigers was putting the ball in play vs. Sears (8-2), who struck out 13 Atlantic batters in Friday’s district opener.
Daeges added that the Cyclones “have nothing to hang our heads about... and no regrets” as their run of eight consecutive state tournament trips comes to an end. Only Mason City Newman (currently 12 straight years) has a longer such streak in the history of Iowa’s summer baseball tournament.
Sears, who will play college baseball at Western Illinois University along with his older brother Dillon, finished his prep career with a school record 36 pitching wins (36-5) and competed in 12 state tournament games since his eighth-grade year. Additional Cyclone seniors include Luke Schaben, Derec Weyer, Riley Kohles, Jon Owens, Tyler Schaben and Ronan Noeth.
“I don’t think you can say enough good things about our seniors,” Daeges said. “I thought they did a good job of leading this squad and being part of our tradition. They’re great kids... It’s been a great run."
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