MASON CITY — Sometimes the best throw is the one you don’t make.
Nonetheless, the West Fork Warhawks made some good clutch throws on way to gunning down North Butler in the Class 1A District 4 baseball semifinals Thursday at Newman Catholic.
And they weren’t all by Warhawk southpaw senior Dawson Zeitler, who was holding the Bearcats scoreless with just one hit through five innings.
But down 4-0 going into the sixth, North Butler suddenly appeared poised to rally late. Sophomore Kane Allison started the inning with a solid single before Rhett Lammers followed with a bunt single.
Bearcat senior Dalton Nelson, the third man up in the inning, attempted to sacrifice bunt the runners up a base, but Zeitler threw a pitch out of the zone that Nelson couldn’t get the barrel of the bat on enabling Warhawk catcher Clay Emhoff to come up firing across the diamond to pick off Allison who strayed from second base.
One out later, Bearcat sophomore Levi Lubben singled up the middle. Lammers attempted to score from second, but Warhawk center fielder Christian Ames’s throw was on the money as Emhoff tagged out a head-first sliding Lammers to end the inning.
In the seventh while protecting the same lead, Zeitler managed to retire the Bearcats with no drama other than an harmless error after two outs.
North Butler ended its season at 8-14. West Fork (22-4-1) advances to the district championship 7 p.m. Saturday at NC.