Cougars throttle North Butler in postseason opener

AGWSR’s Liam Stubbe (left) and Ben Macy (middle) celebrate as assistant coach James Grunwald (right) looks on after closing out a six-inning, 12-2 win over North Butler in a Class 1A District 5 quarterfinal on Tuesday night in Grundy Center. Stubbe got the win on the mound, and Macy led the offense with three RBIs. (Robert Maharry/Mid-America Publishing photo) 

The AGWSR baseball team came up with timely hits and capitalized on a series of untimely North Butler errors to coast to a 12-2 win over the Bearcats in a Class 1A district quarterfinal at Grundy Center on Tuesday night, marking the sixth consecutive victory for the Cougars.

           

The two teams faced each other in last year’s playoffs at Sheffield, and North Butler advanced after an extra-inning thriller to end the Cougars’ season. AGWSR coach Dave Showalter and senior pitcher Liam Stubbe were determined to avoid the same fate this time around.

           

“We knew we were going to have to hit some gaps tonight, hit the ball hard and not just put the ball in play,” Showalter said. “I thought we did a nice job of doing that. We had some guys who maybe haven’t been hitting as well lately that had a good night tonight. It’s a good way to start the postseason.”

           

Neither squad scored in the first frame, but the Cougars (13-4) finally got something cooking in the bottom of the second when Brody Roder reached on an errant throw and moved to second before a Luke Starr groundout put him on third. Joe Wiarda drove him in with an infield single as AGWSR kept up the pressure on North Butler shortstop Kendrick Miller.

           

Later in the inning, freshman Ben Macy slammed a double off the wall and scored two more runners, and Stubbe drove Macy in to push the lead to 4-0. Another Wiarda single—this one a blooper to right field—brought Starr home in the bottom of the third to make it 5-0.

           

The Bearcats (10-10) got on the board in the top of the fourth when Reiher drove Jared Feldman home, but Stubbe escaped any further damage by striking out Colton Hobson.

           

The senior helped his own cause in the bottom of the frame with a single that scored Alex Hames, and Macy came home on an error. A Miller error loaded the bases, and a chopper at the shortstop allowed two more Cougars to score. Starr hit a two-run single, and AGWSR held an 11-1 lead with a chance to end the game in five. 

 

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