Sports

Season yielded 1st title in 20 years

Mid-Prairie shortstop Keegan Gingerich waits at second base with a perfect throw from catcher Vinny Bowlin to tag out a Central Lee player attempting to streal second in Wednesday's substate final win 9-7. (Chris Faulkner/Daily Bemocrat)
Mid-Prairie shortstop Keegan Gingerich waits at second base with a perfect throw from catcher Vinny Bowlin to tag out a Central Lee player attempting to streal second in Wednesday's substate final win 9-7. (Chris Faulkner/Daily Bemocrat)
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WELLMAN — It has been quite a season in a number of ways for high school baseball teams this summer.

While it was unclear if teams could even play, it was clear to Mid-Prairie coach Andy Greiner it could be a special season.

“I thought we had something from looking at our roster and how we did last year,” he said.

When the green light was flashed for a shortened season, Mid-Prairie took advantage, winning the River Valley Conference South Division title and sharing the overall title with North Division Camanche.

The last time the Hawks brought home a share of a league championship was the year 2000, 20 years ago, in the old Eastern Iowa Hawkeye Conference.

Despite claiming a state title in 2004, the Golden Hawks did not win the conference that year.

The Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association saw something in Mid-Prairie as it had the Hawks ranked in the preseason poll at No. 10 and No. 6 at the last rankings.

M-P won its first game then split a doubleheader with EBF before losing to Tipton for a 2-2 record. The Hawks won their next five games before losing to Class 3A Solon in extra innings.

Despite that loss Greiner was happy the Spartans were on the schedule.

“This is exactly what we were hoping to get out of this ballgame,” Greiner said. “We wanted to be challenged.”

The Hawks took the challenge on and haven’t lost since, a streak of nine in a row, including a 5-4 win over fellow RVC Durant, who qualified for the state tournament.

“I really like the way the offense has come around throughout the season,” Greiner said. “It’s been a couple weeks that the guys have done a nice job of dropping the trajectory of the baseball, hitting line drives and hard ground balls.”

Mid-Prairie has won eight of its games by the mercy rule. it has a team batting average of .338, an on-base percentage of .464 and average about 15 runs a game.

First baseman Aidan Rath leads Class 2A in batting average at .600. He is second in home runs with five and second in runs batted in with 29. Rath is third in total bases with 49 and second in on base percentage at .701

Outfielder Brad Tornow is fourth in 2A in runs scored with 29. he has a .404 batting average.

Chris Miller is third on the Hawks in batting at .342 while Monte Slabaugh is at .333 and close behind are Kayden Reinier and Karson Grout at .327.

Four pitchers have carried most of the load for Mid-Prairie with Keegan Gingerich throwing 30 1/3 innings, Reinier and Tornow around 23 and Slabaugh at 15 1/3. Collin Miller has appeared in six games with 5 1/3 innings pitched.

Tornow’s earned run average is at .91 with 43 strikeouts and 11 walks. Gingerich has an ERA of 1.38 with 31K’s and 22 walks. Reinier is at 3.9, 14 K’s and 11 walks. Slabaugh also gave up 11 bases on balls with 14 whiffs and a 2.28 ERA.