Gaels play in district finals

STORY CITY – Playing its best baseball at the perfect time, St. Edmond will look to extend its season again tonight.

Winners of 14 of their last 18 games, the Gaels (17-13 overall) take on No. 6 Roland-Story (25-13) in a Class 2A, District 4 final at Norsemen Field.

First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

In the district semifinals, SEHS pulled off a thrilling 4-2, eight-inning upset over seventh-ranked Ogden here Tuesday. Senior David Flattery went 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored, including a two-run, game-tying longball and go-ahead RBI single.

Tommy Setterdahl, another senior, added three hits.

“Everything builds upon itself, but I really like our approach at the plate and the way we’ve been swinging the bats,” St. Edmond head coach Joe Shanks said. “Each game gets a little tougher, and we have to find a way to push runners across.

“We just beat a quality pitcher like (Ogden all-state southpaw and Western Illinois University recruit Preston) Church, so we should be telling ourselves we can battle with a good thrower.”

Junior pitcher Hank Crimmins went the distance for the Gaels in their previous outing, allowing just four hits and two earned runs, while walking two and striking out eight.

Crimmins (.402 BA, 41 H, 29 RBI, 25 R), Setterdahl (.358, 29 H, 19 R, 16 RBI) and Flattery (.303, 27 H, 21 RBI, 18 R) are the top offensive threats in the Gael lineup. As a team, SEHS is batting .277 with a .402 on-base percentage and 43 stolen bases in 47 attempts.

“I think (Roland-Story) is similar to us in terms of how they score runs and are successful,” said Shanks. “Both defenses have been pretty solid, too, so I’m expecting a low-scoring game.”

The Norsemen, who placed fifth in the Heart of Iowa Conference, are coming off an 8-1 victory over Clarion-Goldfield. Senior Riley Ellis (.353, 42 H, 28 R, 23 RBI), freshman Tyler Hovick (.333, 24 H, 14 R, 11 RBI) and senior Evan Johnson (.304, 31 H, 25 R, 20 RBI) pace the Roland-Story attack, which sports a combined .271 team batting average with 89 steals.

On the mound, the Norsemen own a 1.76 ERA, while opponents are hitting only .196 against them.

Either freshman Robert Flattery (5-3; 58 IP, 53 H, 44 K, 1.45 ERA) or classmate Jason Setterdahl (2-4; 39 2/3 IP, 31 H, 31 K, 3.18 ERA) will receive the starting nod for St. Edmond.

Johnson (5-4; 45 2/3 IP, 37 H, 36 K, 1.53 ERA) will likely toe the rubber for Roland-Story, which is just 5-7 in its last 12 contests.

“Our young pitchers have been throwing strikes of late,” Shanks said. “We can always go back to Hank if we need someone with a little more heat.”

This evening’s winner between the Gaels and Norsemen advances to meet either South Central Calhoun (17-8) or Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (26-5) in a 2A, Substate 2 final Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Carroll.

State action in 2A begins July 29 at Principal Park in Des Moines.