One run short: Rebels eliminated by Don Bosco after furious comeback attempt (with photo slideshow)

Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Kyle Koppen celebrates emphatically after scoring in the top of the seventh inning against Don Bosco in a Class 1A district final on Saturday night. The Rebels fell 3-2 and ended the season with a 21-11 record. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo)

            

Gladbrook-Reinbeck couldn’t buy a hit—or a baserunner, for that matter—during the first six innings of Saturday night’s Class 1A district final against Don Bosco, but when senior Walker Thede broke through and smashed the first home run of his high school career in the top of the seventh, it put a spark in his teammates that nearly propelled them to a substate appearance.

           

“It’s something you think about as a little kid. Like, uh oh, what if this happens? And it finally did,” Thede said. “It almost was like a recollection of all of high school coming back to me, and I realized ‘This is it.’ Something happened, and we got going after that.”

           

An error and an RBI single later, the Rebels (21-11) had stormed back to within a run of the Dons (24-8) and seemed poised to take their first lead of the night, but pitcher Trever Brown regained his composure and recorded three straight outs to walk off the field with a 3-2 win and salvage his squad’s hopes of playing in Des Moines.

           

A pitcher’s duel from start to finish, the contest was essentially decided on a handful of bang bang plays that gave Don Bosco an ultimately insurmountable advantage. Logan Lutgen recorded his team’s first hit with a bunt single in the top of the second before a Tyler Tscherter wild pitch moved him to second base. Bryce Schares subsequently drew a walk, and a Dylan Rottinghaus chopper that got past Rebel third baseman Eli Thede brought Lutgen home to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Dons, the home team on the scoreboard.

           

“It’s baseball. The ball’s going to go the wrong way. Sometimes a guy’s going to make a great play on it, and sometimes, more than likely, it’s just a bad ball and you can’t get to it,” Walker Thede said. “It sucks that those couple plays decided (the game), but that’s how baseball works sometimes.” 

           

Lewis Havel scored Schares with an RBI groundout, and just like that, his squad held a 2-0 advantage. G-R failed to put a runner on base in its next four at-bats as Brown mowed down 12 consecutive hitters and took complete control on the mound. The Dons added what proved to be the insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when freshman Cael Frost launched a double down the left field line, and Dillon Welter moved him over to third with a crucial two strike sacrifice bunt.

           

Lutgen, who scored the team’s first run, came through again with a sac fly to centerfield, and the Rebels’ hopes for a comeback felt even more unlikely than they previously had against a dominant hurler in Brown.

           

“He made us go after any ball that we could to put in play,” G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said.

 

The elder Thede, however, changed everything with a moon shot over the left field fence, and the G-R bench erupted. 

 

View photos from the game below. To purchase prints, click here. 

 

 

 

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