Rebel revenge: G-R smashes GC in district quarterfinals

Gladbrook-Reinbeck freshman Tyler Tscherter (left) makes a throw to first while teammate Joe Smoldt looks on during Tuesday night’s Class 1A district quarterfinal against Grundy Center. Tscherter recorded two hits and got the win on the mound as the Rebels advanced to face North Tama on Thursday. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo)

For the home team, last Tuesday night’s Class 1A district opener represented an opportunity to prolong the extracurricular careers of three of the most decorated and successful athletes in school history while avenging a heartbreaking district final loss from a season ago.


And for the visitors, it was a chance to play postseason spoiler for the fourth year in a row and atone for an otherwise dismal 2017 campaign against a bitter rival. In the end, there were no surprises this time around: Gladbrook-Reinbeck jumped out to an early lead and finished off Grundy Center 11-1 in five innings to advance to the district semifinals against North Tama on Thursday.


“When they said that we were seeded against them, I was like ‘no, not again,’ but then again, we’ve been hitting the ball well,” G-R coach Scott Kiburis said. “We’ve been pitching the ball well, and so things just went according to plan.”


Dating back to 2012, the Rebels (14-8) and Spartans (1-20) have met in each of the last six postseasons, and G-R got back to .500 in those matchups with Tuesday night’s win.


The scoring parade began in the bottom of the first after Alex Tscherter doubled off of Grundy Center starter Braidan Buhrow and moved over to third on a Tyler Tscherter groundout. Shortstop Joe Smoldt drove in his fellow senior on an infield single and later scored himself on a throwing error to give the Rebels an early 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Walker Thede slammed an RBI triple to right field, and a Keegan Geisking RBI groundout pushed the advantage to 5-0 by the end of the first.


“Walker’s triple was a hit and run, and he just pulled it off to perfection,” Kiburis said.


Neither team scored in the second, but the struggling Spartans showed signs of life in the third: in a turn of events perhaps metaphorically describing Grundy Center’s season as a whole, sophomore Matthew Sternhagen got a rally going when he reached first base on a dropped third strike and then stole second. Cale Hendricks followed it up with a single to put runners on first and third, and the visitors got their only run of the night when Hendricks’s unsuccessful steal attempt allowed Sternhagen to cross home plate. 


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