GRUNDY CENTER - It didn't matter that Northeast Hamilton came into Tuesday's Class 1A District 5 quarterfinal losers of eight of its last 10 games. And the fact that the Trojans are hitting just .233 as a team on the season was irrelevant.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck coach Jeff Charley knew better.
When the playoffs begin, the records are even, the seedings don't mean much and the previous scores are simply thrown out the window.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck sophomore Josh Cooley, right, tags out Northeast Hamilton Tyler Smith during Class 1A District 5 quarterfinal action at the George E. Wilhelm Sports Complex on Tuesday. The Rebels survived the Trojans’ upset bid, winning 7-4, and will face rival Grundy Center in the district semifinals on Thursday.
Photo by Troy Hyde
The Northeast Hamilton Trojan baseball team had nothing to lose against the Rebels on Tuesday and it showed when they took the North Iowa Cedar League West Division runner-ups to a 7-4 game at the George E. Wilhem Sports Complex.
After falling behind on an early solo home run by Camden Kickbush, the Trojans (7-14) plated one in the second and two more in the fourth to grab a 3-1 lead.
The Rebels though finished strong, scoring three in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth to advance to Thursday's district semifinal.
"You can throw out the seedings, records and scores at this point in the year," said Charley. "Those mean nothing. They had a senior throwing and he was 5-1 coming in. He got some things done against us but we did what we had to do to win the game."
Logan Seiser started on the mound against the Rebels and was solid until tiring in the sixth. The Rebels added to their lead with two runs in the sixth inning and both runs came without the benefit of a hit. Seiser walked four in the frame before getting pulled with two outs on the board.
Kickbush also threw well for the Rebels and improved to 6-3 after the win. His solo homer in the first gave the Rebels an early cushion and a double and triple by Cameron Murphy as well as a double by Logan Flamme also helped power G-R to the next round, where it will face NICL West rival Grundy Center at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Rebels had eight hits in the game but it was their patience at the plate in the sixth that helped push them into the next round.
"We just try to put the ball in play, but we also know when to take walks and get it done that way," said Charley. "We just try to stress to them to put the ball in play and force the other team to make mistakes.
"They didn't panic and didn't press the button."
Half of their eight hits came in the three-run fourth inning that gave the Rebels the lead for good.
The Trojans had just gone ahead for the first time against Kickbush in the top half of the inning thanks to a double by Seiser and two-run homer by Gabe Rapp. But a one-out double by Flamme kickstarted four consecutive hits, including an RBI single from Joe Smoldt and Brady Kuehl also drew a walk with the bases loaded and Kickbush drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to center.
"My guys played their hearts out all night and I couldn't be prouder of them," said Northeast Hamilton coach Chace Pruismann. "There were some miscues. When you have two dropped routine pop flies, that takes away momentum. (G-R) also ran the bases really well and are very good baseball team."
Kickbush's win on the mound included four strikeouts and three walks. Marco Barron threw a scoreless seventh for his fourth save of the season. Seiser's loss was just his second of the season for the Trojans.
"We got a little tired. He's a senior and wanted it bad," said Pruismann of Seiser's effort. "It was tough that he couldn't deliver the way he wanted to."
The Rebels will face a Grundy Center team they defeated twice in three meetings during the regular season. The last two meetings ended in a split during a doubleheader in Reinbeck. The Rebels, who have recorded four straight victories, won 5-4 and lost 14-8.
"The team that makes the fewest errors will probably win," said Charley. "Most of the losses in this league are one-run ball games. We are going to have to be ready to play."