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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A State Cliffhanger

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DES MOINES -- Austin Delp and the Alta-Aurelia Warriors stood toe-to-toe with the defending State Champions of Davis County Saturday, taking a scoreless tie into the sixth inning in a Class 2A opening round game at Principal Park in Des Moines.

However, a pair of Warrior errors in the sixth allowed the Mustangs to sneak one across in the pitchers' duel that saw Alta-Aurelia's Delp and Davis County's Calvin Mathews, the reigning Iowa high school baseball player of the year, both toss complete game two-hitters. With both pitchers humming along, the game lasted just a little over an hour.

Mathews, an Iowa Hawkeyes commit with 90+ mile an hour heat, fanned 10 and walked none for the Mustangs, who improved to 42-1 with the win. They'll resume play Thursday night. Mathews now sits at 13-0 on the year with an earned run average under 0.70. He's struck out 175 on the year to a miniscule four walks.

"They just didn't make mistakes," said Alta-Aurelia head coach Dan Wendel. "We hit the ball, but we just hit it right at them. He's (Mathews) a great baseball player. No doubt about it. Our kids just battled. That's all you can ask out of them."

"He throws hard, a great pitcher," said A-A senior Jalen Henningsen, owner of the Warriors lone two hits Saturday. "He'll be there in the future, a big name. We prepared all week for him. Can't blame this on anybody. We played hard. Davis County is a great team. It could have gone better, but it didn't. Don't regret anything."

Delp mixed his fastball with an effective forkball and slider as he walked two, hit two and struck out five for the Warriors, who see their season come to an end with a record of 23-11.

"I love my team," said Delp, a senior. "My defense really helped me out a lot. Sometimes you can't make every play, but they still made the plays when we needed to and got me out of trouble quite a bit."

"He battled," said Wendel. "We had a game plan going in. In this big park, we were going to play play back and not give up a double or triple to their big hitters. The difference between the beginning and end of the year with Austin was his location. He started locating his fastball really well and started mixing in a couple other pitches. That's what made him so effective at the end of the year. Also Ryan Wuebker took over pitching duties later in the year, and that helped out our staff quite a bit."

"He was perfect," said Henningsen. "Only gave up two hits. Couldn't have asked for better. He held them to one run in seven innings, Davis County #1 ranked team in the state. He couldn't have been better."

A Clint Foster single broke up Delp's no-hitter in the bottom of the second, but a fielder's choice would keep the Mustangs from reaching scoring position in the inning.

Delp would get into a bit of a jam in the third as he walked leadoff hitter Jacob Davidson and plunked Josh Martschring, a .500 hitter with 50 driven in who will join Mathews at the University of Iowa next fall. Mathews then stepped to the plate after popping out to the warning track in the first. Delp would also hit him with a pitch to load them up. The Alta-Aurelia senior escaped the jam, however, getting Josey Garmon to pop out to end the inning.

Henningsen broke up Mathews' perfect game in the fourth with a long double, but he'd get no further than second as Neil Marshall went down swinging and A.J. Lange grounded out to the mound.

Mathews would get another chance to drive one in in the fifth as Austin Roberts walked and moved to third on Martschring single. However Mathews popped out to Jaden Holton at short as the Mustangs stranded two more.

After the Warriors went down in order in the sixth, Davis County would take advantage of a pair of Alta-Aurelia miscues to plate the deciding run. With one down, Neil Marshall took a sharp grounder at third, but his throw pulled Ross Friedrich off the bag to allow Clint Foster to reach first safely. Foster promptly stole second. After Garmon went down swinging, Calvin Utt would reach on a single that got under Marshall's glove and into left. Henningsen's throw home wasn't in time as Foster beat the tag attempt of Alex Stephan. Delp would then get a groundout to end the inning.

Henningsen led off the seventh with a single, bringing the tying run aboard. A State meet qualifier in the 100 who had swiped 35 bases in 36 attempts this season, Henningsen would get picked off for just the second time all year as he attempted to take second. Marshall would then ground and Lange went down looking as the Warriors' season ended at the hands of the Mustangs for the second year in a row.

A senior laden group, the Warriors part ways with Delp, Holton, Marshall, Lange, Henningsen, James Curbow, Dylan Harms and Evan Laursen.

"We'll have to regroup," said Wendel. "That's an impressive group of seniors. We've got some good young kids coming up though. A great career for these kids. To go out against the defending state champions, it could be worse. This is a great place to wrap up the year. I'm proud of these kids."

"It was an awesome time," said Henningsen. "Alta-Aurelia has a great program going. Dan Wendel's doing a great job and so are (assistant coaches) Jeremy Lambert and Ryan Wuebker."

"It's been fun," said Delp. "Really, it's been a blast. I hate to see it come to an end."

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