GRANGER — The Woodward-Granger offense was able to send runners across the plate in only one inning during Saturday’s Class 2A District 12 Final against Des Moines Christian.
The way Hawk starter Spencer Hanson was pitching, that was more than enough.
Hanson improved to 10-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.06 by shutting out the Lions on five hits and a walk as W-G recorded a 3-0 victory. The senior struck out nine in the win, which set a new school record for victories in a season by a Hawk hurler.
W-G (29-5) will face Centerville (22-10) Tuesday in Indianola at 7 p.m. in the Substate 6 Final, with the winner advancing to the state tournament, something the Hawks last did in 1947, as Woodward. Centerville moved on with a 4-1 win over Pella Christian (19-16) Saturday.
DMC pitchers Tyler Ketchum and Sam Stroh did their best to keep their team in the game, with a first-inning Marcus McConahay single the only hit the Lions allowed outside a fateful fourth inning.
McConahay reached second on an infield throwing error to start the frame, racing home when Hanson doubled to left-center. Nick Brummond entered as a courtesy runner, scoring when Matt Rhodes doubled off the bottom of the fence in left field.
A Reese Jamison single moved Rhodes to third and knocked Ketchum from the game in favor of Stroh. A pair of ground balls kept runners on second and third with two outs when Joe Rhodes came through with a base hit to plate to push the score to 3-0. A strikeout ended the rally.
Hanson reached on an error in the fifth and Cole Theisen walked in the sixth, but the hosts were unable to add to their total.
It hardly mattered, as Hanson was masterful on the mound.
Jackson Harris had doubled to start the game, but Hanson struck out the side in order to strand the runner. Grant Christy walked to start the second but was left on second base, with Andrew Fox doubling to start the sixth but left standing on second by three quick outs.
DMC’s best chance to erase their goose egg came in the seventh, which started when Blake Witty singled and moved to second on an outfield error. A pop out followed, with an infield hit putting runners on the corners, but Hanson again worked out of the jam with another pop out and a strikeout to preserve the shutout.
With 104 pitches thrown, Hanson will be unavailable Tuesday, but head coach Eric Evans appeared hardly worried.
“You have to get to Tuesday first, right?” he asked. “With our staff I have no concerns. We will give the ball to Cole and have everybody else ready just in case. I think we are in fine shape.”
Lefthander Theisen has issued only five walks and struck out 36 in 41-1/3 innings. He is 6-1, and with only four earned runs allowed sports a minute 0.68 ERA while opponents hit just 1.86 off the junior.
McConahay stole second base after his first-inning single Saturday, giving him 38 for the season, tying Brent Achenbach’s 1990 school record for thefts in a season. His 88 career steals are already the new school standard.
Ketchum yielded three runs (two earned) on four hits in three frames while striking out two in being handed the tough-luck loss. Strohn allowed a hit and a walk while fanning three in his three innings of work for the Lions, who finish 21-12.