Knights take IIAC crown

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Wartburg Baseball team won the 2017 Iowa Conference Baseball Tournament Championship on Saturday, May 13 with a 6-1 victory over Coe. The Knights will represent the IIAC in the NCAA Division III Tournament next weekend at a site to be released late Sunday, May 14. Coach Joel Host led the Knights to their 10th tournament title in program history and first since 2013.

The final day of the IIAC tournament began with Coe defeating Buena Vista 5-4 in Game 9. The 4:00 p.m. championship matchup between No. 1 Wartburg and No. 5 Coe ended with the Knights capturing the title in a 6-1 victory. The No. 1 seeded Knights went 3-0 in the tournament with the offense scoring 39 runs. They started the tournament with a 7-3 win vs. No. 5 Coe on Thursday afternoon and moved on to defeat No. 3 seed Buena Vista 9-6 on day two in route to the title game. 

Box Scores
|  G9: Coe - Buena Vista  |  G10: Wartburg - Coe |
|   Tournament Website  |

Game 9: Coe - 5, Buena Vista 4
With a trip to the IIAC tournament championship game on the line Buena Vista struck first on a Devin Wagenman sacrifice fly right field that scored Bryce Rheault. The Beavers would turn double plays in both the first and second innings to turn the Kohawks away without a run.In the bottom of the third Rheault reached first base on a single to second and would later be driven in by a Kolby Hilgenberg single up the middle. After three, Buena Vista owned a 2-0 lead. 

After four innings at the plate Coe would have two hits and remain scoreless. The Beavers added two more in the fourth. First, by a Devon Harms RBI single to center field that scored Cameron Johnson. The second run would come from a RBI single to right field by Rheault to bring in Michael Zeller. With two runners on for Buena Vista, Coe would bring in Michael Golinski to pitch. Golinski created a ground ball that would be turned in to a double play and get the Kohawks out of the inning. Buena Vista owned a 4-0 lead after four innings of play. 

Inning five and six would remain scoreless. With the bases loaded in the top of seven, Coe grounded into a double play but Jacob Burns would score. In the top of eight, with two outs, Andrew Brierton would send one deep over the right field fence to score two for the Kohawks and gain them the 5-4 lead. Buena Vista would get a deep center field triple from Hilgenberg, but he would be stranded on third as the Kohawks would win the game 5-4, and a trip to the IIAC Championship game. 

Coe's Golinski (4-1) would pick up the win for Coe and Lucas Robbins would earn the save (6). Golinski pitched 3 2/3 innings giving up three hits and allowing no runs. He struck out four in facing 13 batters. Robbins tossed two innings, giving up two hits and striking out two in eight batters faced.

Game 9 IIAC Championship: Wartburg - 6, Coe - 1
The 2017 Iowa Conference Baseball Championship game began with a pitchers dual between Wartburg's Michael Knouse and Coe's Thomas Schaedel into the fifth inning. Wartburg would be the first to break into the scoring column. With the bases loaded in the fifth Zach Hovick sent a shot up the middle to score Mike Brown and Cody Hyler. Following up Hovick's at bat, Eric Willis singled to left field, bringing in David Fitzgerald. With a stellar 4 1/3 innings by Schaedel, Coe brought in Alex Milne to pitch. One batter later, Blake Mahoney hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field that scored Hovick. The Kohawks would find their way out of the inning with two Wartburg runners remaining on base and the score 4-0. 

In the bottom of the sixth Wartburg would add another run when Austin Lechtenberg hit a ground ball RBI single just to the inside of first base. Fitzgerald would score on the Lechtenberg's hit. The Knights would leave the sixth inning with a 5-0 lead. In the top of the seventh Knouse would give up his sixth hit of the game and third walk to put Kohawk runners on first and second. Coach Holst would visit the mound to bring in Austin Bohling to pitch for the Knights. Bohling walked the first batter he faced to load the bases for Coe and Devin Delaney would send a sacrifice fly to center field and score Jacob Henry to put Coe on the board. Henry's run would be all Coe could find. Going into the bottom of the seventh Wartburg would add yet another run. Hyler would hit an RBI single to score Mahoney, bringing the Knight's lead to 6-1. With two runners on base for the Knights, Coe would bring in James Christ to pitch. On Christ's first pitch he would hit Brown to load the bases. The Kohawks would get out of the inning with no more damage when Hovick sent a deep fly ball to left field for out number three.

The eighth and ninth innings would prove to go the Knight's way, as Coe was unable to cut into their lead. Wartburg's Bohling struck out two in the eighth and created a ground ball for out number three. In the ninth he would repeat his eighth inning performance and secure Iowa Conference Tournament Title number 10 for Wartburg with a 6-1 Victory over Coe. 

Knouse (2-1) pitched his longest outing of the season, with a six inning performance that would only allow one earned run, six hits, and three walks. He struck out seven in facing 26 batters. Bohling closed out the game for the Knights pitching three innings and holding Coe batters to zero hits and zero runs. Bohling faced nine batters and collected four strikeouts to close out the 2017 Iowa Conference Baseball Tournament.