Smoldt's no-hitter lifts G-R to district final

Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Joe Smoldt deals during his district semifinal no-hitter against North Tama Thursday. The Rebels won 3-0 and will play again on Saturday against Hudson. (Jake Ryder/The Grundy Register photo)

   TRAER – Joe Smoldt has been a part of plenty of big-time moments in Gladbrook-Reinbeck sports before Thursday night's baseball district final between the Rebels and North Tama.

   As Smoldt put the finishing touches on a no-hitter, part of G-R's 3-0 victory over the Redhawks, he followed the cliché of "act like you've been there before" to the letter.

   He gave a single fist pump after his 16th and final strikeout of the night, keeping his head down with a muted reaction on his face underneath the shadow cast by the blue bill of his baseball cap.

   On to the next one for Smoldt and the Rebels: Work yet to be done for the latest chapter in Gladbrook-Reinbeck postseason magic.

   "I think I was just fresh," Smoldt said of his night on the mound. "I thought I had a good chance to be successful, just going out there locating pitches and putting it where it'd be tough to hit."

   The Rebels advance to Saturday's district final in Traer, where they'll play Hudson, who had their own special moment with an upset of No. 7 Don Bosco 5-3 in Thursday's early game.

   Smoldt was denied perfection after a fifth-inning free pass issued to Cael Even, who advanced to second on a stolen base before being stranded by one of Smoldt's plentiful strikeouts, only needing 88 pitches to dispatch the Redhawks.

   Smoldt, a senior, also started the scoring with an RBI single in the third that plated Tyler Tscherter.

   The Rebels added one more run in the fourth and sixth innings on a Keagan Geisking RBI single and a Matt Roeding RBI double, respectively.

   The rest was in the arm of Smoldt.

   "He was ahead on a lot of the batters early on," Gladbrook-Reinbeck coach Scott Kiburis said. "(North Tama's) got three excellent hitters, 2-3-4, and Joe was able to come back on a couple of them and they might have hit the ball hard but it was right at our guys."

   The Rebels will have everyone else on their pitching staff available for Saturday aside from Smoldt – Hudson, meanwhile, will be without two pitchers that went over the 40-pitch limit. Kiburis noted both teams should have plenty of depth on the staff for Saturday.

   "We just want to stay loose and play like we've been playing," Smoldt added. "We've got two, three, four pitchers that can come in and throw strikes, do their job, and the defense we put behind them is second to none. We just need to get the timely hits and have a good defense behind our pitchers and we'll have a good chance."

NT          000 000 0  —  0   0

G-R        001 101 x  —  3   10

WP: Joe Smoldt (7 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 16 K)

2B: Matt Roeding. 3B: Walker Thede. RBI: Smoldt, Keagan Geisking, Roeding.