OAKLAND – AJ Schiltz expected to be the first man to enter in relief for Treynor on Friday night.
In fact, the freshman had a dream about it Thursday night.
He just didn’t expect it to be with no outs and runners at first and second in the third inning.
Schiltz struck out two batters and caught a popout to end that threat. He went on to throw four innings of scoreless relief, combining with Kristian Martens on a one-hitter, as the top-seeded Cardinals won their first Western Iowa Conference Tournament title since 2013 with a 10-0, six-inning victory over third-seeded Tri-Center at Riverside High School.
“I just had a dream that if I was on the mound, that I felt like I had confidence in myself and I was going to do great things,’’ said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Schiltz, who transferred to Treynor from Glenwood after the eighth grade. “I just tried my best to throw the ball over the plate, and it was working for me. My curveball worked really well.’’
State Class 2-A No. 4 Treynor (21-3) ended Tri-Center’s two-year reign atop the WIC tournament. The Trojans, who were seeking their ninth conference tourney title in 15 years, dropped to 14-8. They committed an uncharacteristic six errors behind Kaleb Smith and Mason Rohatsch.
“We had our opportunities early in the game,’’ Tri-Center coach Max Kozeal said. “You can’t let those opportunities go by. Kaleb battled on the mound, but we didn’t do anything to help him out, either.’’
With Treynor leading 1-0, the right-handed Martens hit batters on consecutive pitches to start the third and complained of pain in his pitching elbow. Enter Schiltz, who immediately commanded the strike zone and worked his way out of the jam. His father, Mike, played baseball at Thomas Jefferson with Treynor coach Bob Mantell.
“Honestly, for AJ to come in right there and not give up a run was just a huge momentum shift for us,’’ Mantell said. “For a freshman, he pitched with a lot of confidence. He was able to command the strike zone. He was able to get his breaking pitch over and he really competed well.’’
Treynor added single runs in the third and fourth innings. Will Halverson singled and scored on Jaxon Schumacher’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Martens walked and scored on Brenden Dingus’ double.
Tri-Center loaded the bases in the fourth with one out on a Brett McGee single and two errors, but Schiltz registered a strikeout and flyout to right to end it.
Treynor put it away with seven runs in the sixth, getting four hits and benefiting from three Trojan errors. Halverson had an RBI double and Schumacher smashed a two-run triple to highlight the inning.
Halverson finished 3-for-4, while Kyle Christensen and Dingus added two hits apiece and the gifted Schumacher finished with three RBIs.
Mantell said he brought up his program’s six-year drought in the conference tournament to his players.
“I told them over the past several years we’ve always been in position where we weren’t able to throw our top guys in the game, and then it wound up kind of biting us a little bit,’’ he said. “Tonight we were really focused and really determined. We recognize that Tri-Center’s a good team, and we just wanted to put our best foot forward, and I thought that our guys did that.’’
Tri-Center (14-8) 000 000 – 0 1 6
Treynor (21-3) 011 107 – 10 9 2
W: Kristian Martens. L: Kaleb Smith. 2B: T, Drew Petersen, Brenden Dingus, Will Halverson. 3B: T, Jaxon Schumacher.
Underwood 8, Logan-Magnolia 0
OAKLAND – Underwood broke it open with a four-run fourth inning to secure third place in the WIC tournament with an 8-0 win over the Panthers.
Tyler Boothby and Drake Adair drove in two runs apiece for the Eagles.
Lo-Ma (12-12) 000 000 0 – 0 5 2
Underwood (18-3) 001 412 x – 8 7 1
W: Zach Teten. L: Tre Melby. 3B: U, Nick Ravlin.7