Wartburg Falls To Luther In IIAC Semifinals [Video]
In order for the Wartburg Knights to capture the Iowa Conference baseball tournament title, they will have to win three nine-inning games on Saturday (May 14, 2016).
Arch-rival Luther upset 16th-ranked and top-seeded Wartburg, 9-3, in the tournament semifinals at Veterans Memorial Stadium/Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids Friday afternoon. The Knights beat Coe, 8-2, in their tournament opener Thursday night.
Because the format is double-elimination, the Knights (32-10 overall) are still alive. They will play again at 1 p.m. on Saturday against an opponent that will be determined Saturday morning.
Rain halted the game for two hours and 27 minutes. Before the delay, Wartburg held a 3-2 lead after four innings. When play resumed, the Norse (31-12) tallied nine of their 12 hits and scored two runs in the fifth and five in the sixth.
When the game was re-started, Mason Whitham replaced Luther starter Teddy Klingsporn on the mound. Whitham allowed just five hits, walked one batter and struck out two while holding the Knights scoreless. The victory was Whitham's second of the season.
Luther took a 1-0 lead, scoring on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. The Norse doubled their lead in the fourth on a RBI single.
Wartburg rallied in the fourth inning, plating three runs. Senior Milton Croes (Noord, Aruba) drove in junior Jacob Thumann (DeWitt) for the first run. Senior Ryan Kemp (Keokuk) and Croes both crossed the plate on a hit by junior Mike Brown (Bettendorf), putting the Knights ahead 3-2.
Then, a strong rain system moved across Cedar Rapids and delayed the game nearly two-and-a-half hours.
When play resumed, the Norse tied the game on an RBI ground out in the fifth inning and took a 4-3 lead on single. Luther hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, then followed the blast with a two-run double and scored on a dribbler down the third-base line.
The Norse are one win away from capturing the Iowa Conference Tournament championship and earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division-III National Tournament. For Wartburg to win the title, the Knights will have to beat either Coe or Buena Vista in the elimination game, then beat Luther in a double championship -- all on Saturday.
Courtesy: Wartburg Knights via YouTube