Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 15, 2017

Lynx headed back to state

Iowa Mennonite loses to north linn 2-0
By K.J. Pilcher, The Gazette | Jul 19, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — While posing for numerous pictures meant for scrapbooks and various social media posts, North Linn Coach Travis Griffith gave his team some advice when it came time for a more official photo.

“Act like you’ve been there,” Griffith said with a smile.

The Lynx (41-2) have been there and they are happy to be returning.

All-stater Jake Hilmer threw a four-hit shutout and top-ranked North Linn beat Iowa Mennonite, 2-0, for the Class 1A Substate 4 title last night at Cedar Rapids Prairie. For the second time in three seasons, the Lynx reached the state tournament that begins Friday at Principal Park in Des Moines.

“It feels like more than two years I’ll tell you that,” Hilmer said. “You’re on the bus and it feels like forever since we held that baseball banner. It just feels great to get it.”

After a state semifinal appearance in 2015, the Lynx ended last season with a one-run loss, balking in the winning run. A school record in victories and the school’s second state berth soothes the sting from a year ago.

“Coming back and getting this win,” North Linn junior Sean Boardman said, “it’s huge.”

Boardman delivered the game-winning run in the first inning. He belted an RBI double over the right fielder’s head, chasing home Brad Pflughaupt, who drew a two-out walk.

“I knew he’d come at me early in the count with a fastball,” Boardman said. “The first pitch was a fastball high and outside. I had a good feeling he was going to come at me again. He threw it high and outside on the corner and I took it to the opposite field. It came off my bat good.”

The run was more than enough for Hilmer, who also threw a 2-0 shutout in the district semifinal against Maquoketa Valley.

“Our outfield played great,” Hilmer said. “You get to the postseason and everybody has their ace on the mound it’s going to be a 2-0 game. No one is going to 10-run their way to state. You have to win the close ones.”

Hilmer stifled batters, fanning 11 and surrendering just four total hits without a walk. After giving up a leadoff single in the first, Hilmer retired 16 of the next 17 batters. He was impressive, allowing one runner to reach third and only one other to touch second.

IMS threatened in the top of the sixth, getting two-out singles from Drake Brezina and Nick Yutzy. Hilmer caught a pop out in foul territory to quickly end the threat. The Lynx added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when David Seber’s RBI single scored Trevor Boge.

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