Jaron Todd laid down a perfect sac bunt in the first frame Saturday. The SW junior went 2-for-4 with a double and drove in four runs to help the Warriors win the district title. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Jaron Todd laid down a perfect sac bunt in the first frame Saturday. The SW junior went 2-for-4 with a double and drove in four runs to help the Warriors win the district title. (Photo by Becky Walz)

For the second consecutive year, Wapsie Valley (27-12) and South Winneshiek (28-9) faced off in a Class 1A district baseball final Saturday night, with the local Red and Grey coming out on top, 12-6. As the lower district seed, the hometown Warriors were the visiting team on the scoreboard.

The victory handed South Winn its fourth district title in the last 10 years with the last coming in 2015. South Winn will play in the substate final Tuesday, July 23, at 7 p.m. in Decorah taking on the winner of North Butler (13-9-1) and Saint Ansgar (24-9) in a game completed Monday night.

“What a great high school baseball atmosphere for both teams to be part of. We knew going in we would face a very solid Wapsie Valley offense and we would need to find ways to score runs to keep up with them. Our guys grinded away the first four innings to force the Wapsie Valley starting pitcher to elevate his pitch count. While we didn’t score many runs and left a lot of guys on base, being able to get to their bullpen early in the game was a key for us,” said Coach Alex Smith.

In front of a big crowd, Wapsie Valley grabbed the early 1-0 lead in the first frame. South Winn rebounded with a run of their own in the top of the second inning to tie the game up on a bases-loaded walk issued to Noah Tieskoetter. In the bottom half of the frame, SW retired the Black and Gold in order to keep the game knotted, 1-1.

The Red and Grey loaded the bases again in the third; however, all runners were left stranded. Wapsie Valley responded with two runs of their own in the third inning to take the 3-1 advantage heading to the fourth inning. 

South Winn then took the momentum in the top of the fifth, turning three walks, two errors and a hit into four runs to take the 6-3 lead and sitting down WV in 1-2-3 order. The sixth frame began with Logan Hageman reaching first safely on a dropped third strike. Two bunts and three walks allowed South Winn to plate two additional runs for an 8-3 advantage.

Wapsie Valley wouldn’t go down easy as they plated three runs in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 8-6. Four big insurance runs by South Winn in the top of the seventh secured the victory — capped off by a Jaron Todd two-run double to the right field fence. 

“Our pitching and defense were solid and made the big plays/pitches when we needed to. A big thanks for all of the support by the former players, parents, family members, and community during our district hosting,” concluded Coach Smith.

Ethan Luzum picked up his 11th win on the season with five strikeouts and Jarod Todd recorded the final four outs in the contest to pick up his third save. 

Todd went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI, while Jacob Herold contributed two hits and drove in a run. Also providing hits were Noah Tieskoetter, Cael Kuboushek, Seth Greve and Luzum.