Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MEDIAPOLIS — Two of the area’s absolute best went toe-to-toe in Mediapolis on Tuesday night as Mid-Prairie sophomore Karson Sprouse and Cardinal senior Landon Becker took the hill in the Class 2A Substate 6 quarterfinals.
In a game that didn’t see one earned run cross the plate, it was Mid-Prairie that stayed more consistent in the field and on the base paths to knock out Cardinal 4-0.
While both pitchers looked strong on the mound, it was Grout that had the bounces go his way. He threw five shut out innings, and got plenty of run support to earn a postseason win.
“I know with our team, at some point we’re going to put runs on the board,” Grout said. “Four in a game like this is plenty.”
Mid-Prairie played some early small ball to build a lead. A trifecta of bunts was capped off when Tyler Helmuth reached on first after laying one down. He squeezed in Alex Bean in the process, and the Golden Hawks led 1-0.
“Coming into this, we knew it was a pitcher’s duel,” said Mid-Prairie head coach Kyle Mullet. “The small ball has always been our back door.”
After some miscues in the field for Cardinal, Mid-Prairie put up two more runs in the fourth. Brock Harland knocked one in with an RBI single, and Dylan Henry scored on a failed Comet pick off attempt, making it 3-0 Golden Hawks after four.
Mid-Prairie’s run of the day also came on the back of Cardinal errors. It was Harlan again that took advantage, knocking in a run with an RBI double to bring the score to 4-0.
The Comets had plenty of chances to get back into it. Cardinal loaded the bases three times in the last four innings, almost entirely via walks, errors and hit batters.
Cardinal forced Grout to get out of bases-juiced jams in the fourth and fifth, and then put the pressure on Golden Hawks reliever Collin Miller in the seventh, but the Comets would never push a run across the plate.
Overall, Mid-Prairie pitching held Cardinal to just two hits. Blaine Bryant and Landon Becker each had singles in the loss.
Mid-Prairie (16-10) will take on Van Buren County (12-15) in the Class 2A Substate 6 semifinals on Saturday. Cardinal finishes its season 17-8.