South Winn’s Jaron Todd is ready to make the tag on the Saints base runner in the first inning of Tuesday’s substate game at Cresco. Backing up the play is Ethan Luzum. (Photo by Becky Walz)
South Winn’s Jaron Todd is ready to make the tag on the Saints base runner in the first inning of Tuesday’s substate game at Cresco. Backing up the play is Ethan Luzum. (Photo by Becky Walz)

It’s back to back trips to the state tournament for the fourth-ranked South Winn baseball team (25-1) after avenging their only regular season loss to the Saint Ansgar Saints (15-4) Tuesday night, 3-0, in Cresco.

The win punches the Warriors’ second consecutive trip to the Class 1A state baseball tournament, the third in school history. With one game in the class postponed due to weather Tuesday night, leaving South Winn to wait an extra day to find out who they will face and when. The Class 1A quarterfinals will take place at Principal Park in Des Moines Friday and Saturday, July 24-25. Game times set for the class are 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 

Pegged as a defensive battle in the early innings, neither squad managed to get runners in scoring position until the fourth inning when Seth Greve reached base on an error, later scampering to third on a Kody Kleve double. A walk issued to Logan Hageman gave South Winn the opportunity to score with the bases loaded and two outs before the side was retired, leaving the score 0-0.

In a pitcher’s duel between Warrior senior, Noah Tieskoetter, and Saints freshman south paw, Tate Mayer, the score remained tied 0-0 entering the top of the sixth inning. Back to back singles by Cael Kuboushek and Greve to start the frame gave South Winn an opportunity for double steal to get runners in scoring position with no outs. Kuboushek scored on a wild pitch to open the scoring and then Kleve drove in the second run with Ethan Luzum driving in the third run of the game. 

Saint Ansgar threatened in the bottom half of the sixth with two base runners and two outs, before Coach Alex Smith made a pitching change from Tieskoetter to Jaron Todd, who recorded the final four outs to secure the save. That’s all the Warriors needed with the 1-2 punch of Tieskoetter and Jaron Todd to close out the game. 

“In a big playoff scenario, pitching and defense is what gives you opportunities to win a game, and we were outstanding in both areas. Our guys grinded away offensively to do what was needed to score the three runs,” said Coach Alex Smith. “I’m very proud of this group and making it to back to back state tournaments is quite an accomplishment, but I know they are hungry for more wins moving forward.”

Defensively, the Warriors were flawless in the game committing zero errors. 

South Winn tallied six hits in the contest. Leading the way at the plate was Kleve who went 2-for-2 with a double and RBI, while Kuboushek chipped in two hits including a double to go with a pair of stolen bases. Seth Greve and Logan Hageman had the Warriors’ other two hits.