DES MOINES — The Mason City baseball team saw more highs and lows this summer than maybe some do in four seasons. It had the highs of making a late-season run to make the state tournament, and the lows of crushing injuries.
Mason City persevered throughout, but it came up just short of its ultimate goal as the Mohawks’ storybook season came to an end Thursday morning when it fell short of Dowling Catholic 8-1 in a Class 4A state quarterfinal inside Principal Park.
“We won all the substate games, we won a lot of games in a row and then we get down here to the big park and it just didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Mason City senior Weston Schultz said.
On Thursday, it broke down to a couple of things.
The Mohawks (26-18) missed a prime opportunity with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second and couldn’t add on to a 1-0 lead —Schultz, who led off the inning with a single, scored on an RBI single by Bryce Butler, who had two hits in the game, for Mason City’s only run.
And Dowling pitcher and Iowa signee Ben Probst was tough to break after it looked like he might give way early.
“I thought they were ready for Ben Probst,” Mason City coach Troy Rood said. “Ben Probst has not been on his heels as a high school pitcher maybe ever, but there’s no doubt we had him back on his heels. We delivered quite a blow that first time through the order and we were one hit away.”
It was the only real damage Mason City would do offensively as Probst was locked in the rest of the way. The senior finished with 10 strikeouts to one walk while scattering six hits.
The final blow was the free bases Mason City issued the Maroons (35-8). After a strong first inning for starting pitcher Zach Hendrickson, the Mohawks walked 10 batters and committed 4 errors. They ended up outhitting Dowling 6-5.
“The first inning I got through it with all my pitches working, but that second inning I couldn’t get it back and I lost a lot of confidence because those are the pitches I rely on,” Hendrickson said.
The senior pitched three innings in his final start as a prep, struck out two and walked four.
After Mason City’s one-run top of the second, Dowling scored four in the bottom of the inning to take control, and kept the pedal down the rest of the way.
The Maroons added a run in each the third and fourth innings, and scored twice in the sixth. Sam Olson had five RBIs for Dowling.
Even with the deficit, Mason City never felt the game was out of reach.
“These kids aren’t quitters,” Rood said. “They fought all along and I’m so proud of what they’ve done to get Mason City baseball back where it deserves to be and should be, and that’s Principal Park.”