Noah Tieskoetter gets to third base before the throw Thursday in South Winn’s showdown for the conference lead versus Kee High. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Noah Tieskoetter gets to third base before the throw Thursday in South Winn’s showdown for the conference lead versus Kee High. (Photo by Becky Walz)

It was a battle of two unbeaten in the conference as the Class 1A No. 8 South Winn baseball team (15-6, 8-0 UIC) hosted Kee High (12-5, 4-2 UIC), in Calmar Thursday. 

The Warriors picked up one-run victories in both games to move to 8-0 in conference play and take a commanding two game lead in the standings with just four games left in the conference season. 

In game one, the Kee Hawks got off to an early start, scoring three runs in the first inning. South Winn scored three runs of its own in the bottom of the second to tie the game. In the fourth inning, the Warriors scored the go-ahead runs thanks to RBI hits by Noah Tieskoetter and Jaron Todd. 

Kee threatened in the sixth inning, scoring a run and with runners at second and third, relief pitcher Jaron Todd induced the ground out to third base to end the threat. Kee went down quietly in the seventh with Todd tossing a 1-2-3 inning including two strikeouts. 

Tieskoetter improved to 4-1 on the season throwing 5-2/3 innings in the start.

South Winn finished the game with eight hits including a double and single by Tieskoetter who drove in a run and stole a base. Other Warriors picking up hits were Todd, Nick Holien, Cael Kuboushek, Logan Hageman and Carter Wenthold.

In game two, it was a pitchers’ duel in which the only run of the game came in the bottom of the first inning when Tieskoetter led off the inning with a hit, stole second and third and was able to score on a wild pitch. 

The Hawks’ greatest threat came in the second inning, but sophomore Ethan Luzum pitched out of a one-out jam with a Kee runner at third by inducing back to back ground balls to third baseman Nick Holien. Kee would threaten again in the seventh with a leadoff walk to start the inning but Kody Kleve made a big pickoff play behind the plate to first baseman Seth Greve to record the first out of the inning. 

Ethan Luzum tossed the complete game picking up his fifth win on the mound of the year.

Four hits gave South Winn enough to win the game with a double coming for Kleve. Picking up singles were Tieskoetter, Kuboushek and Carter Wenthold.

“These were two big wins for us at a critical point in the season. Whichever team could pull off a sweep was going to put themselves in the driver’s seat for the conference championship, and we were fortunate to come away with the wins,” said Coach Alex Smith. “This was also a critical game for postseason seeding as both teams have been placed in the same district. I was pleased with how our guys responded, being down early in game one. Our three pitchers were all outstanding and we made big plays defensively when we needed to.”

The Warriors return to action Tuesday, June 18, when they head to Wapsie Valley for a junior varsity/varsity contest with the first pitch set for 4 p.m.