Entering the final week for the Du’s baseball team the final spot for the conference tournament was on the line. To make matters even more interesting, the team they were competing with for the final spot was the team they were facing that weekend, Wartburg home of the Knights. On many levels this weekend was emotional for the seniors, but the weekend did not disappoint.
For the first game, on the hill for the Duhawks was first-year pitcher Curtis Lilienthal. Lilienthal on the season had a 2-2 record for the Duhawks in seven starts. His season’s success gave pitching coach Jeremy Gerardy and Head Coach Carl Tebon confidence that he could give the Duhawks a chance to take game one. He did just that giving up two runs in six innings. The offense took a few innings before finally breaking through in the sixth, where they scored four runs. The battle continued back and forth that, even after nine innings, the score was tied. Sophomore shortstop Luke Fennelly came up in the bottom of the 10th inning with Senior Robbie Agerbeek at second. Fennelly blasted a fastball to the left-center gap scoring Agerbeek on a walkoff double. Duhawks take game one of the series.
Entering game two, the Duhawks knew that the Knights were going to come out with a fight. The Knight’s struck early and often scoring 11 runs through five innings, capped off by a grandslam that knocked Duhawk first-year start Sam Marhefke out of the ballgame. The Duhawks never gave up hope and continued to battle back. The team answered back scoring six unanswered making the score 12-7. Unfortunately, the deficit was too great and the Knights took game two by a score 14-9.
This meant the storybook ending to continue the season was in line as the Knights and Duhawks had a winner-take-all game three of the series. The Knights jumped out to a quick lead scoring two in the first inning, but the Duhawks quickly erased that score with a run in each of the first two innings. Then, to continue the chess match, the Knights scored four runs in the fifth inning to jump up by a decisive margin. The Duhawks again never quit and they answered scoring four themselves in the bottom half of that inning. Finally, after a pair of scoreless frames from both sides the Duhawks managed to scrape together one run in the eighth inning. Junior closer Tanner Fallon came in and slammed the door shut sealing the victory and a trip to Cedar Rapids. Duhawks take game three and the series by a score of 7-6.
The tournament begins for the Duhawks on Thursday, May 9, as they play a game against Luther college in the conference tournament. Not to be forgotten are the seniors who played their last game at Petrakis this season. The Duhawks are graduating nine seniors this season: Austin Konagel, Robbie Agerbeek, Jake Oglesby, Zack Murphy, Blake Anderson, Dan Westra, Danny Paluch, Cole Thompson, and Patrick Costello.