State title dream alive for St. Mary's

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Wordekemper strikes out a state-tournament record 16

Who needs a defense when you have Eric Wordekemper pitching.

The Storm Lake St. Mary's fireballer struck out the side in the first four innings and rung up an Iowa state-tournament record 16 strikeouts in the game while throwing a four-hit complete game as Storm Lake St. Mary's routed Martensdale-St. Mary's 8-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state baseball tournament on Wednesday night at Carroll Stadium.

St. Mary's, now 26-8 overall, will face second-ranked Mason City Newman (40-2) in the semifinals on Friday at 2 p.m. Newman beat Kingsley-Pierson 17-3 in the early night game.

Wordekemper was extremely dominating on the mound. He struck out the side in the first, second, third and fourth innings while giving up just two hits and two walks during that time.

Meanwhile, the Panthers gave Wordekemper a three-run lead before he even took the mound in the first inning.

Billy Mach began the game with a walk. Jeff Speers singled and Wordekemper walked to load the bases. Tim Brown then delivered an RBI single to score Mach.

One out later, John Mach ripped a single to score Speers. A catcher's interference call with Joey McCollum batting allowed pinch-runner Nick Netsch to score. McCollum did not get an RBI because of the error on the catcher.

St. Mary's made it a 4-0 game in the fourth inning with a run. Ryan Gessner reached on an infield error, Billy Mach was hit by a pitch and Speers walked to load the bases. Wordekemper then grounded out to second base to drive in Gessner.

The Panthers broke the game open with four runs in the fifth inning. Kevin Brown started the inning by reaching on a two-base error on a dropped fly ball in left field. John Mach then belted a double to score Brown.

Joe Fitzgerald continued the inning by reaching on a fielder's choice. One out later, a suicide squeeze bunt by Gessner scored Mach to make it 6-0.

The next batter, Billy Mach, also executed a suicide squeeze bunt to perfection as Fitzgerald scored. As the throw went to first base to retire Mach, Gessner raced all the way around from second base to score on the play, giving the Panthers an 8-0 lead.

Wordekemper, meanwhile, extended his string of consecutive strikeouts to 13 in the fifth inning. It took a bunt attempt by Aaron Wiegert to end the streak. John Dooley then singled before Wordekemper got Davitt to pop up.

Mach had two of the Panthers' six hits in the game. He also drove in two runs. Billy Mach knocked in two runs as well. Kevin Brown smacked a double.

Martensdale-St. Mary's, which finished 33-5 overall, was victimized by five errors and left six runners on base.

The Blue Devils had a runner on third base with two outs in each of the first, second and third innings, but in all three innings Wordekemper struck out the batter to end the threat.

Martensdale-St. Mary's had a runner reach third base with two outs in the sixth inning, but Wordekemper induced the next batter to pop up to end the inning and preserve the shutout.

Martensdale-St. Mary's starting pitcher Matt Davitt took the loss. He allowed four hits and two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.

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