West liberty baseball

Comets head into home stretch

West Liberty will travel to Columbus Catholic for district quarterfinals


By Kohlton Kober

Index Sports Writer

The West Liberty baseball team won one of their four contests last week, taking a 9-1 victory over Mid-Prairie.

The Comets fell to the Golden Hawks in their two other matchups last week along with a loss to top-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

The week started Monday with a double header against Mid-Prairie.

The Golden Hawks were first on the board, scoring two in the first inning along with additional runs in the third and fourth.

A two-run performance from the Comets in the bottom of the fourth seemed to right the ship, but with the Golden Hawks adding runs in the fifth and sixth, the Comets were unable to find the momentum needed to mount a comeback, eventually falling 6-2.

Tides turned for the Comets in the second game, as the jumped ahead to a 3-0 lead after the third inning before adding five more in the fourth.

With an additional run in the sixth for good measure, the Comets allowed one run in the seventh as they were denied the shutout with a 9-1 victory. 

Wednesday the Comets matched up against the Cougars and found themselves struggling with one of the top teams in the state as the Comets trailed 7-1 after three innings.

The Comets managed to do just enough to prevent the mercy rule loss, but were unable to completely shut down the Kennedy offense as they suffered a 12-3 defeat. 

Thursday the Comets played their third game against Mid-Prairie and batting practice broke out. The Comets scored five as the Golden Hawks scored three.

Both teams scored again in the third as they found themselves tied 6-6. The Golden Hawks found the insurance they needed in the fifth, outscoring the Comets 4-1.

Despite scoring three in the seventh, the Comets were unable to erase the deficit and fell 12-10.

The Comets will play Regina Thursday before a double header against West Branch Monday to conclude their regular season.

Playoff bracket breakdown

Last week, the Iowa High School Athletic Association released this year’s substate and district brackets.

West Liberty was placed in Class 2A substate five and district nine.

It will be a tough road to the district championship as they must win three road games.

First is a matchup with Columbus Catholic on July 6.

The Sailors, 14-12, score 7.1 runs per game and give up 6.5 runs per game. Their top pitcher is senior Nick Merrifield who has a 1.46 ERA and 1.12 WHIP across 38.1 innings.

Their top batters are senior Thomas Steele (.472/.530/.685 slash line), Merrifield (.338/.490/.597 slash line) and junior Aiden Hosch (.339/.462/.387 slash line).

If the Comets get past Columbus Catholic, they will travel to 19-3 Sumner-Fredericksburg on July 9.

On the opposite side of the district bracket is 22-9 Alburnett, along with Jesup and West Branch in their respective quarterfinal.

The adjoining district bracket within substate five features top seeds Anamosa and Mid-Prairie as well as quarterfinal matchups between Winfield-Mount Union, Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis and West Burlington.

The district nine championship is scheduled for July 13 with the substate final slated for July 16.

Season statistical summary

Batting average

Ryker Dengler, .375; Tully Griffith, .316; Joseph Delgado, .278; Alexis Michel, .273; Tytan Griffith, .268; Beckham Simon, .237; Bryson Garcia, .228; Seth Axsom, .219; Caden Laughlin, .208; Ryan Cassady, .194; Jake Underbakke, .169; Jonathan Cardona, .150.


Ryker Dengler, 21; Tytan Griffith, 19; Beckham Simon, 14; Seth Axsom, 14; Bryson Garcia, 13; Ryan Cassady, 13; Tully Griffith, 12; Joseph Delgado, 10; Jake Underbakke, 10; Caden Laughlin, 5; Alexis Michel, 3; Jonathan Cardona, 3.

Extra Base Hits

Ryker Dengler, 6; Tytan Griffith, 4; Jake Underbakke, 4; Ryan Cassady, 3; Bryson Garcia, 2; Joseph Delgado, 2; Seth Axsom, 2; Tully Griffith, 1.

Slugging percentage

Ryker Dengler, .571; Tully Griffith, .368; Joseph Delgado, .333; Tytan Griffith, .324; Seth Axsom, .297; Alexis Michel, .273; Jake Underbakke, .271; Bryson Garcia, .263; Ryan Cassady, .254; Beckham Simon, .237; Caden Laughlin, .208; Jonathan Cardona, .150.


Ryan Cassady, 20; Ryker Dengler, 18; Seth Axsom, 16; Tytan Griffith, 12; Bryson Garcia, 9; Jonathan Cardona, 7; Joseph Delgado, 6; Beckham Simon, 5; Tully Griffith, 4; Jake Underbakke, 4; Alexis Michel, 2; Caden Laughlin, 2; Lleyton Simon, 1.

Stolen bases

Ryan Cassady, 12; Ryker Dengler, 11; Seth Axsom, 10; Tytan Griffith, 8; Jonathan Cardona, 4; Bryson Garcia, 2; Tully Griffith, 2; Joseph Delgado, 2; Beckham Simon, 2; Lleyton Simon, 2; Caden Laughlin, 1; Jake Underbakke, 1.

Pitcher strikeouts

Tytan Griffith, 31; Ryan Cassady, 22; Joseph Delgado, 21; Ryker Dengler, 14; Seth Axsom, 13; Caden Laughlin, 7; Beckham Simon, 5; Jake Underbakke, 1; Tully Griffith, 1; Lleyton Simon, 1.

Pitcher ERA (Min. 10 IP)

Joseph Delgado, 2.76; Tytan Griffith, 3.46; Ryan Cassady, 6.05; Seth Axsom, 7.45; Ryker Dengler, 7.54.

Pitcher WHIP (Min. 10 IP)

Joseph Delgado, 1.42; Tytan Griffith, 1.45; Seth Axsom, 1.84; Ryan Cassady, 1.86; Ryker Dengler, 2.69.