Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
CARROLL — Thursday’s Class 2A semifinal between Mid-Prairie and Estherville-Lincoln Central might not have been the outcome the Golden Hawks wanted, but the journey was a wild one. s
The Golden Hawks (19-11) took an early lead in the battle between two and six seeds, but Estherville-Lincoln (33-2) overcame the deficit to advance and avoid the upset, 7-4.
Mid-Prairie’s trip to the state tournament semifinals marked its fifth all time, with the lone victory coming back in 2004.
It’s was a heck of road for this year’s Golden Hawks squad as they jumped around the Class 2A ranking for most of the season before falling out near the end of the regular season. That didn’t slow them down though as they cruised through the substate rounds, eventually downing No. 6 West Marshall to reach the state tournament. In the quarterfinal’s they got some redemption on No. 3-seed Cascade, who they fell to in the regular season.
On Thursday, the Golden Hawks showed just how dangerous they are.
After a scoreless first inning, the Golden Hawks opened up the scoring in the second. They loaded the bases with no outs after Dylan Henry and Brock Harland were each walked, followed by an error at first on Collin Miller’s intended sacrifice bunt.
It nearly ended there for Mid-Prairie after a lineout to third and a close double play on a ground ball back to Estherville pitcher Landon Vaske. Vaske got the force out at home, but Mid-Prairie’s Will Cavanagh scurried down the first base line beating the throw and keeping the bases juiced.
Lead off, Cain Brown then delivered with a ball placed between first and second. What initially would have been an RBI single turned into cleared bases and a 3-0 lead for Mid-Prairie. The right fielder misjudged the ball and Brown was able to make his way to third.
The Midgets answered back in their half of the inning though as a walk and two singles loaded the bases. Grant Love then answered with a two-run base hit to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
The damage didn’t stop there as an inning later, the Midget’s Blake Ingvall hammered a two-run home run off the scoreboard, giving Estherville its first lead of the night, 4-3.
Mid-Prairie struggled to get anything going after that.
In the bottom of the fifth, with the bases once again, another two-run single extended the Midget’s lead 6-4. Following the first out of the inning on a fielder choice, a bunt single gave Estherville a 7-3 advantage.
The Golden Hawks got a spark in the top of the seventh, but they couldn’t rally.
Cavanagh and Brown both singled and a wild pitched moved them to second and third. Karson Grout then grounded out while bringing in a run, but two straight strikeouts ended the game and the Golden Hawks season.
Mid-Prairie graduates two seniors and will return a core group of players to next year squad. They will have a seasoned team that knows what it takes to make a deep run.
Estherville-Lincoln Central advanced to the state championship on Friday. The Midgets fell to defending state champion and top-seed Van Meter, 10-0.