Gladbrook-Reinbeck slides by Rockford, 7-2
REINBECK — It was a good, tight game between the Gladbrook-Reinbeck baseball team and Rockford in their Class 1A District 5 quarterfinal, until the Rebels decided enough was enough.
After trailing the entire game and entering the bottom of the fifth inning down 2-1, G-R exploded for six runs in the frame with 10 total batters coming up to the plate, turning a one-run deficit into a five-run surplus.
The Rebels never looked back after the fifth, cruising easily in the next two inning on the way to a 7-2 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday.
Sophomore Tyler Tscherter had a heck of a night for Gladbrook-Reinbeck (20-10) reaching base all four times he came up to bat and knocking down two doubles while scoring a run and bringing one in.
Tscherter also got it done on the mound, pitching five innings in relief of starter Caden Kickbush and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 11.
“He was very impressive for us, he’s come through a lot this year,” G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said. “He has one of the higher batting averages in the conference this year in a pretty good conference, and he gets on base. He got hit twice also, so we get him on base and that gives us opportunities with Walker Thede batting second and he brings in a lot of runs, then Kyle Koppen who had the big double that brought them both home.”
Tscherter drove in the first run of the game against Rockford pitcher Max Rooney, hitting a two-out double that scored Aiden Wyatt from first base, who was pinch running for catcher Jackson Kiburis.
“I just wanted to move him around so we could get him into scoring position because we had Kyle and Mason [Skovgard] and Walker back behind me,” Tscherter said. “I know they can hit him in, but I hit that double and he kept going and scored so that was good for us.”
Jackson was actually the catalyst for both the scores in the third and fifth inning, as he drew a walk with two outs in the third and started the big fifth by also drawing a walk.
“The first at-bat was four-straight balls, but he is usually going to take a pitch or two because he has quite a few walks this year,” coach Kiburis said. “The second time was big because that led to the big inning, and since he was the catcher we were able to run a pretty fast runner in Aiden Wyatt, so we were able to come up with Tyler and a man on first.”
It took nearly a full trip through the order for the Rebel offense to get to the Warriors (11-14) and Kiburis said that was partially because of the stuff Rooney was bringing.
“He had a very good curveball and he had good control early on until he walked Jackson,” Kiburis said. “They felt a little more comfortable and they took a few more pitches, we got into some counts and Kyle’s at-bat in the fifth where he had the double, he had six or seven pitches and he had some foul balls where he had some good cuts on. He said it felt like forever, but he got into one so he was timing them and that helps out.”
Koppen’s double in the fifth scored Tscherter, which gave G-R the lead for the first time all game.
Kickbush showed some good grit in his two innings of work to start the game, recovering from walking the first two batters to retire six of the next seven Warriors he faced.
Kiburis said it might seem counter-productive to not start his ace in the first inning, but it’s a different strategy now that they are in the postseason tournament.
“The process there is this is a tournament, and Tyler can only throw 90 pitches to be eligible if he wants to get a second game,” he said. “Since he strikes so many guys out, 90 pitches comes fast, so we have done this in the few years we’ve had him where he comes in, and he’s actually really comfortable coming in during the third inning. We wanted to get him to the third inning, and Caden got us to the third inning, which was great.”
It was Tscherter’s quick work that helped the offense stay hot as the game went on, and he said in the dugout the team never worried about overcoming the Rockford lead.
“We had come back from bigger deficits before,” Tscherter said. “One run wasn’t much, all we had to do was just stay confident and not get down on ourselves for having a bad at-bat or a bad play in the field. We had to hit the ball and get people on base, that’s it.”
G-R will now take on NICL West Division foe BCLUW in the district semifinals, a team they know well after facing them twice already. Kiburis said they know the Comets are a dangerous team — one they’ve lost to twice this year — but they have a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen a third time.
“They are co-champions of our league, so they are a very good team,” Kiburis said. “They have both Mann brothers, both of them pitched really well against us. We will get Logan and he has had success against us early in the season. We have to have good at-bats and need to play good defense, try to keep guys off bases.”
The Rebels and Comets will meet up for a third and final time in the 1A District 5 semifinals on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 7, Rockford 2
Rockford 200 000 0 — 2 2 1
G-R 001 060 X — 7 6 0
Max Rooney, Kayden Lyman (5) and Blake Farr; Caden Kickbush, Tyler Tscherter (3) and Jackson Kiburis. WP–Tscherter (5-2). LP–Rooney (3-3). 2B–G-R: Tscherter 2, Kyle Koppen. LOB–ROC 3, G-R 7.