Cyclones blow away Monarchs for District 16 title

3A Baseball District Final: HCHS 13, Denison 3 (5)

 HARLAN (July 20) -- The Harlan Community baseball team picked a great time to earn its first mercy-rule win of 2020.
 Breaking open a 4-2 game by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth, HCHS added three more in the fifth to finish off Denison-Schleswig 13-3 in a Class 3A district final at Jim Goeser Field Monday night.
 The third time was not a charm for the Monarchs, who lost two close decisions - 2-0 and 1-0 - to the Cyclones during the regular season.
 Junior Isaiah Ahrenholtz had two hits and five RBI for HCHS, including a three-run double in the fourth and a run-scoring single to end the game with two outs in the fifth. Connor Bruck and Joey Moser both had three hits and three runs scored, with Bruck hitting a double and adding three RBI.
 The Cyclones (14-3) totaled a dozen team hits and did not commit an error in winning their eighth straight game and advancing to Wednesday’s Substate 8 final at Dallas Center-Grimes.
 “It was great to see us come out and hit. I don’t know if we’ve had 12 hits in a ball game this year, and we got a little bit of production out of everybody in the lineup tonight,” said HCHS head coach Steve Daeges.
 The Cyclone skipper was also impressed by his team’s defense, whether it was Bruck and Moser making tough plays look routine at shortstop and third base or center fielder Ben Muenchrath running down a long fly ball to end the second inning with the score tied 2-2. Later on, catcher Brenden Bartley gunned down two Monarchs trying to steal second base in the fifth, quelling a potential rally.
 Bartley started on the mound for HCHS but did not have his best stuff and was relieved by Alex Monson after six of the 10 batters he faced reached via three hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He allowed two runs in an inning and a third.
 Monson (3-0) was solid during the final three and two-thirds and earned the win, allowing four hits and one run. He walked two, hit a batter and struck out three, getting some help from Bartley’s catching arm during an eventful fifth inning that saw the first five Monarchs reach safely.
 Denison, led by a pair of singles from nine-hole hitter Jaxson Hildebrand, totaled seven hits and stole five bases in seven attempts. The Monarchs finished 11-9 on the year.

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