Camanche's seventh-inning rally ends season for Panthers

Gavin Cooper of Monticello (front) slides in with a stolen base during the district game against Camanche July 10 in Dyersville. (Photo by Pete Temple)

Monticello pitcher Ryan Manternach (15) throws to third baseman Kyle Sperfslage for a forceout against Camanche. (Photo by Hannah Gray)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello and Camanche battled to a scoreless tie through six innings of a Class 2A, District 7 semifinal baseball game July 10 at Dyersville’s Commercial Club Park.

     Camanche, which had lost to the Panthers three times this season, took advantage this time, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning on the way to a 2-0 win, ending Monticello’s otherwise outstanding season.

     Monticello wasn’t able to solve Camanche pitcher Jake Drury, who allowed just three hits and struck out 11 in seven innings.

     “They have a legit ace,” Monticello coach Soper said. “We couldn’t string anything together on offense. Credit to their pitcher and defense. They made some great plays and didn’t give us much of anything to work with.”

     Adding to the frustration was the fact the Panthers, despite a 23-6 season and a River Valley Conference, North Division championship, found themselves starting their postseason in Dyersville once again.

     “Most of our seniors have been on the varsity since they were ninth-graders, and Dyersville is the only postseason home they have ever known,” Soper said.

     Despite that, in some innings, the Panthers seemed on the verge of breaking through. In others – such as the third, fourth and seventh, Monticello went down 1-2-3 with a total of seven strikeouts.

     Monticello had perhaps its best chance in the first inning. Kyle Sperfslage hit an infield single, into the hole between shortstop and third base, with one out. Jacob Manternach drilled a sizzling line drive that was caught by the Camanche third baseman. A throwing error in an attempt to double off Sperfslage allowed him to advance to third. But the Panthers could not bring him in.

     Jon Mootz hit an infield single to open the second inning, but a double play and a fly out ended that frame.

     The Panthers also opened the fifth with a hit. Mootz hit a line drive that the third baseman got a piece of but could not corral. Mootz then attempted to steal second, and was called out on a very close play, and the Indians got out of that inning.

     In the sixth, pinch-hitter Tyler Blattner opened with a four-pitch walk. A sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in a force out at second. Andrew Mescher then roped a liner to left field, but the left fielder got to it in time.

     The Indians broke the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh. With one out, P.J. Pucket was hit by a pitch, and Ethan Buckely came in as a courtesy runner. Everson Cade, the ninth batter in the Camanche order, laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Buckely to second with two out.

     Kyle DeWeerdt then followed with a single to left, scoring Buckely with the game’s first run, and DeWeerdt went to second when the throw came home. Evan Hall then singled near the right field line to score DeWeerdt and make it 2-0.

     In the Panthers’ half, two strikeouts and a pitcher-covering play at first in the seventh inning ended the game.

     It negated an otherwise strong pitching performance by Ryan Manternach, who went the distance, allowing four hits, striking out seven and walking one.

     Offensively, Mootz was 2-for-3.

     “The kids had a great season,” Soper said. “We are going to miss the seven seniors.”


July 10

Class 2A, District 7


Camanche 2, Monticello 0

MONTICELLO                            AB     R     H     BI

Mescher ss                                    3      0      0      0

Sperfslage 3b                                3      0      1      0

Manternach, J. c                            3      0      0      0

Manternach, R. p                           3      0      0      0

Mootz dh                                        3      0      2      0

Martensen 1b                                 2      0      0      0

Nealson rf                                       2      0      0      0

Arduser lf                                        1      0      0      0

Blattner ph                                      0      0      0      0

Cooper, G. cf                                   2      0      0      0

Sauser 2b                                        0      0      0      0

Totals                                             22     0      3      0

Camanche                    000  000  2   –    2      4      0

Monticello                     000  000  0   –    0      3      2

SB – Cooper.

Monticello                      IP     H     R    ER   BB   SO

Mantrnch,R.(L, 0-1)         7      4      2      2      1      7

Totals                              7      4      2      2      1      7



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