BRODHEAD — The baseball must have seemed like a BB, it was that kind of day at the plate for Columbus’ prep baseball team.
Ryan Brost scattered six walks over 5⅔ innings but didn’t allow his first hit until there was one out in the sixth, two relievers came on and only allowed one more hit and Jefferson stymied the Cardinals 7-0 Tuesday in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal game at Brodhead High School.
“He mixes up speeds, he doesn’t throw the same pitch (and) he doesn’t throw it down the middle,” Jansen said. “And when you do that, you’re going to be in most of the games.”
Still, Columbus (14-3) did manage some rallies against Brost — most notably in the first inning, when the Cardinals loaded the bases on an error and two walks before the left-handed junior got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
That would be it, however, as the only other time in the game that Jefferson (18-9) — which went on to thump Edgerton by the score of 11-1 in the championship game to make it to state for the sixth time and first time since winning the Division 2 title in 2014 — allowed a runner in scoring position was in the fifth, when Brost issued a pair of two-out walks before getting a strikeout to end the inning.
Columbus ace Randon Dauman did match Brost in the early going, allowing only three baserunners — one of them in scoring position — over the first three innings.
But what was shaping up to be a pitchers’ duel turned into a one-sided affair in the top of the fourth, when Jefferson struck for four runs — one was unearned due to a passed ball — on a walk, a sacrifice fly, a pair of RBI doubles and an RBI single.
Jefferson is a good fastball-hitting team, and so the Eagles matched up OK against the flame-throwing Dauman. But what tilted the scales in their favor is that they also hit Dauman’s offspeed stuff well Tuesday.
“The first couple of hits that they had off of Randon were off of the curveball, so they did hit the curveball, too,” Jansen said. “What they do is they stay back and they hit everything up the middle when it’s not thrown hard. And that’s what a good ball team does.”
Jefferson struck for three more runs in the seventh on Nathan Hebbe’s one-out homer to deep left center, making the hill that much steeper for the Cardinals in the bottom half.
And they couldn’t get enough footing to rally, managing only Trent Casper’s one-out single.
It was a disappointing end to the year for a team that had aspirations of making the program’s first trip to state since finishing as the Division 2 runner-up in 1992.
But it doesn’t take away from what was a second straight successful season — and a successful end to the four-year run for seniors Dauman, Connor Manthey and Joey Kalafut.
“I can’t remember the last time that any sport in Columbus won back-to-back conference titles, and that’s what we did. So that’s a feather in their cap in the first place. And then the regional championship (this year) was the second (feather),” Jansen said. “We didn’t play as many games as I would have liked to because of the weather. But this group of seniors — there’s three of them that played as freshman — for four years, their record is 76-19. That’s not bad for a senior group.
“So they helped us turn the corner and hopefully we’re headed in the right direction.”
JEFFERSON 7, COLUMBUS 0
Jefferson 000 400 3 — 7 9 1
Columbus 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-k): Jeff — Ryan Brost (W, 5.2-1-0-6-5), Ian Drays (1-0-0-0-1), Aldair Rameriz (1-1-0-0-2). Col — Randon Dauman (L, 5-6-3-2-6), Joey Kalafut (2-3-3-0-3).
Leading hitters (two or more hits): Jeff — Ian Drays 2x4, Nathan Hebbe 2x3, Brandon Laesch 2x3. Col — None. HR: Jeff — Nathan Hebbe 1. 2B: Jeff — Nick Hauser 1, Brandon Laesch 1, Nathan Hebbe 1, Ian Drays 1. RBIs: Jeff — Ryan Brost 1, Brandon Laesch 1, Sam Cincotta 1, Nathan Hebbe 4.