Knights wrap up season at North Linn

TELEGRAPH PHOTO BY DARVIN GRAHAM - Union senior third baseman Jordan Carey narrowly beats a throw to first from North Linn shortstop Austin Hilmer in the second round of the Class 2A Substate 3 playoff bracket.

After a solid opening performance in the class 2A high school baseball playoffs against Oelwein, the Union Knights were handed the unenviable task of traveling to face the second ranked North Linn Lynx who were coming into the game off a first round bye. The Lynx shutout Union 11-0 in five innings to advance on to the Substate 3 semifinal game against Jesup.

Three days earlier the Knights had the tables turned against a struggling Oelwein team in the Class 2A Substate 3 first round game. Union got seven innings of shutout work from sophomore pitcher Danny Peterson, who earned the win allowing only three hits and zero walks.

Six Union batters tallied hits against the Huskies with TJ Freeland going 4-4 to lead the team. Freeland had the only extra-base hit for the Knights. Grant Behrens also had a solid offensive night going 2-3 at the plate with a team high two RBIs.

Union Head Coach Robert Driscol praised his team’s performance against Oelwein saying, “Overall the kids were starting to play pretty good baseball at the end of the season and luckily it carried over against Oelwein. I felt like we played with good confidence.”

Unfortunately for the Knights, once they got to round two they found a North Linn team that was too big and too quick to handle on Tuesday.

TELEGRAPH PHOTO BY DARVIN GRAHAM - Senior Hunter Heitmann takes a cut during Union’s match up with North Linn on July 14. Heitmann hit a double late in the game but was unable to score.

The Lynx hold a 16-2 record and were the 2019 Class 2A State Runner-Up, losing to Van Meter at Principal Park in Des Moines last August.

“We faced a very good opponent against North Linn,” commented Driscol. “We knew they would be very good. Going into the game the kids were lose and confident but we just ran into a buzz saw. No matter who we threw or what we threw up there they took advantage. We weren’t able to string enough hits together to put runs on the board and it unfortunately made for a short night.”

The Knights will exit the season and say goodbye to five senior players including starters Rhett Peters, Jordan Carey, Hunter Heitmann, and Henry Powers; as well as Johnathan Dickerson.

Coach Driscol and the Knights will look toward a crop of sophomores that earned playing time last year and contributed in significant ways this season.

Union wraps up the season with a 5-8 record with wins over Wapsie Valley, Vinton-Shellsburg, Sumner-Fredricksburg, North Tama, and Oelwein.

TELEGRAPH PHOTO BY DARVIN GRAHAM - Senior first baseman Henry Powers connects with a pitch against Oelwein on July 11.

TELEGRAPH PHOTO BY DARVIN GRAHAM - Senior second baseman Rhett Peters reaches to make a throw to first base during Union's substate playoff game against North Linn on July 14.