By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
WAVERLY — When Drew Mitchell took the mound as Charles City’s starter against District 3 semifinal opponent Decorah on Friday, there really wasn’t much at stake … only the fate of Comets’ season and Mitchell’s prep career.
“Drew threw a helluva game,” Charles City head coach Tyler Downing said after Mitchell held the Vikings to 2 earned runs in six innings, but couldn’t prevent Decorah from advancing by way of a 3-0 final.
“He left everything out there,” Downing said of Mitchell. “The same could be said about our other two seniors (Jordan Kapping and Nate Lasher). They will be missed.
“In high school, you get done with a fall sport there’s always a winter sport … then a spring sport. But after summer baseball for seniors, it’s over.”
Mitchell, who led the Comets in hitting (.350 batting average) and earned run average (2.85) among starters while holding opposing hitters to a .220 average, has made his mark in other Charles City sports. As a quarterback, he’s among the Comets’ all-time leaders in passing yardage. As an anchorman, he’s helped the Comets’ boys bowling team reach the state finals three straight years. Mitchell was also one of the top golfers on Charles City’s boys team that advanced to the district finals for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Now it’s over … really over.
“I’m going to Iowa State, but I’m just going as a student,” Mitchell said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I guess when August comes around and they’re starting football and I’m sitting at home, that’s probably when I’ll realize that it’s over.
“Today, I just wanted to go out and give it my all.”
In addition to scattering seven hits while keeping the Comets in the game, Mitchell reached base four times — once with a single and thrice by way of infield errors.
The Vikings committed seven errors on the day — but the Comets had their share of mishaps with five errors.
Yet Charles City did have its moments defensively.
With runners on the corners with one out and 1 run already scored in the second inning, the Vikings tried to provoke a big inning when Dawson Meyer strayed off first to get the attention of Mitchell.
Mitchell ran at Meyer to freeze him in his tracks while keeping an eye of Ryan Thorsten, who previously doubled in the first run of the game and was poised to score another while waiting for an opportune moment to break toward the plate.
While avoiding a prolonged rundown, the Comets were able to quickly retire Meyer when Mitchell ran him into the tag of shortstop Lasher, who fired the ball to catcher Dylan Salinas, who managed to scoop the low throw and tag out Thorsten when he tried to score resulting in an inning-ending doubleplay.
Later in the fourth, Comet third baseman Jalen Jones robbed Drake Shelton of a hit when he ranged to his right to glove a hot-hopper before throwing accurately across the diamond.
Then in the fifth with a runner in scoring position, Comet first baseman Wyatt Stevenson snared a line-shot by Ian Smith that skimmed the bag. With Charles City yielding plenty of room down the right-field line, Smith’s liner would have easily scored the run and likely would have resulted in a stand-up triple.
Shelton, Thorsten and Meyer each had two hits; and Brannan Hogan struck out eight, walked one and yielded five hits for the Vikings (22-8), who will face Waverly-Shell Rock 7 p.m. Monday in the District 3 championship.
The Go-Hawks defeated Crestwood, 7-0, in their semifinal.
Lasher, Salinas, Stevenson and Jones had the other hits for Charles City, which finished the season at 10-21.
The relatively young Comet team won three more games than the season before. And unlike last season, many of Charles City’s loses were similar to the one against the Vikings — evenly matched for the most part but often decided by a defensive glitch or two by the Comets.
“We have some talented juniors coming back next season, but we also have sophomores with a lot of varsity experience,” Downing said. “Guys like Colton (Slinger) and Wyatt (Stevenson) have been playing varsity for two years already. Coming back as juniors will be their third years at varsity.”
As for Mitchell, this past season was his fifth in the Comet baseball program.
“But I didn’t play varsity until I was a freshman,” he said. “I only had three at-bats.”
And a productive prep future ahead of him.
Now that’s all in the past.
Class 3A District 5 Semifinal
DECORAH 3, CHARLES CITY 0
CHARLES CITY AB R H BI DECORAH AB R H BI
Cole Reams 4 0 0 0 Drake Shelton 4 0 2 1
Nate Lasher 4 0 1 0 Jackson Varney 3 1 0 0
Drew Mitchell 4 0 1 0 Jace Johnson 3 0 0 0
Dylan Salinas 4 0 1 0 Brannan Hogan 3 0 0 0
Theo Arndt 3 0 0 0 Ian Smith 3 0 0 0
Colton Slinger 2 0 0 0 Dawson Holkesvik 3 1 1 0
Wyatt Stevenson 3 0 1 0 Kailer McCabe 2 0 0 0
Jalen Jones 3 0 1 0 Philip Ihde 1 0 0 0
Elliott Sinwell 2 0 0 0 Ryan Thorsten 3 1 2 1
Tait Arndt 1 0 0 0 Dawson Meyer 2 0 2 0
TOTALS 30 0 5 0 TOTALS 27 3 7 2
CHARLES CITY 000 000 0 — 0
DECORAH 011 001 x — 3
LOB–CHARLES CITY 10, DECORAH 8. ERR–Jalen Jones, Drew Mitchell, Cole Reams, Nate Lasher (2), Ryan Thorsten (4), Drake Shelton (2), Brannan Hogan. 2B–Ryan Thorsten. SB–Jackson Varney.
CHARLES CITY IP H R ER BB SO HR
Drew Mitchell 6.00 7 3 2 2 4 0
Brannan Hogan 7.00 4 0 0 1 8 0
PB–Dylan Salinas. SO–Dylan Salinas (2), Jalen Jones,
Colton Slinger, Tait Arndt, Wyatt Stevenson, Cole Reams (2), Jace Johnson, Kailer McCabe, Jackson Varney (2). BB–Colton Slinger, Dawson Meyer, Jackson Varney.