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Monday, August 20, 2018
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Iowa Valley League

Brockshus finally learned about his record

WILLIAMSBURG - Lloyd Brockshus tied the all-time record for the most strikeouts in a state championship game when he whiffed 15 batters for Williamsburg High School against Council Bluffs Jefferson.

That was in 1962. He learned about the record nearly 30 years later.

Brockshus went on a road trip for the insurance company he was working for in Des Moines in the early 1990's and when he returned to his office there was a copy of the program from the Iowa state baseball tournament that year with a note to turn to page so-and-so.

And there, in black and white, it listed Lloyd Brockshus of Williamsburg as one of the record-holders for most K's in a championship game.

"I couldn't believe it, to be honest with you," Brockshus said recently. "I absolutely could not believe it."

The 15 strikeouts in a championship game is still the state record, now held by six pitchers. One of the record-holders is Bill Drummond, who fanned 15 batters for Council Bluffs Jefferson against Williamsburg in that same championship game in Boone.

That's right. Brockshus AND Drummond both struck out 15 batters that day, giving them the record for most combined strikeouts by two pitchers in the state finals.

Unfortunately for Brockshus, the Williamsburg ballclub lost the finals to Council Bluffs Jefferson 2-0 on a seeing-eye, two-run single by Tom Zimmerman in the third inning.

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Sueppel, Czerwiec win IVL awards

Nick Sueppel of the Williamsburg Red Sox and Austin Czerwiec of the Cedar Rapids Stars have won the top awards in the Iowa Valley League this season.

Sueppel, an outstanding catcher, has been named the Most Valuable Player in the league after helping the Red Sox claim their first IVL title since 1977. He also helped Williamsburg capture the IABA state title on Sunday.

Sueppel, from Iowa City, began his college baseball career at Johnson County Community College and has transferred to Mount Mercy University this year as a junior.

Czerwiec, from Muscatine, has been named the Outstanding Pitcher in the Iowa Valley League for the second straight year. The Mount Mercy grad compiled a 7-2 record in 2018.

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Red Sox claim first IABA title in 30 years

NORWAY - Lloyd Brockshus, the 73-year-old patriarch of the Williamsburg Red Sox, has promised his players they'll have swanky new uniforms when they take the field in 2019.

The grimy old uniforms went out in style.

The Red Sox put an exclamation point on their magical campaign Sunday by winning the IABA state tournament for the first time since 1988 by winning a pair of games at famed Norway Field.

Just two weeks ago, the Red Sox captured their first Iowa Valley League championship since 1977 on the final day of the regular season.

Williamsburg blanked Walford, 10-0, in the final game of the annual tournament Sunday to finish a season for the ages.

"Finally!" yelled Brockshus as he accepted the handsome championship trophy, punching the air with a clenched fist.

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4 IVL teams scrambling for IABA title

NORWAY - The Norway Bandits have thrown the IABA state tournament into a mad scramble for the title.

The Bandits upset Williamsburg, 8-7, Saturday night in a wild ballgame that ended under the Musco lights in Norway, handing the Red Sox their first loss in the tournament.

Four Iowa Valley League teams are still alive in the state meet and all four teams have one loss in the double-elimination event, setting up a free-for-all Sunday for the crown in Norway.

Williamsburg (2-1) will face Red Top (4-1) in the first semifinal at 1 p.m., with Norway (4-1) meeting Walford (3-1) in the other semifinal at 3 p.m.

The winners will collide at 5 p.m. for the 2018 IABA state title.

Williamsburg won the IVL championship this year while Norway finished in last place, but that did not matter Saturday night in the fourth and final game at Norway.

The Red Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Bandits responded with a five-spot of their own in the third inning with the big blow a two-run homer by Riley Braughton.

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Red Top ousts Stars from state tourney

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Red Top and the Stars never expected to face each other in an elimination game on the first weekend of the IABA state tournament, but that's exactly what happened here Sunday.

The contest matched Red Top, which won the 2016 state title, against the Stars, who captured the 2017 state crown in a battle to see who would stay alive in the two-week tourney.

As it turned out, it wasn't much of a battle at all.

Red Top defeated the Stars, 9-1, at Douglas Park in Rock Island, Ill.,  to keep their championship hopes alive and prevent the Stars from successfully defending their title.

Darren Kilpatrick allowed one run on only hit in six innings for the Toppers, who got a base hit from every batter in their lineup.

"The guys were locked in today," said Red Top Manager Adam Sadler. "We haven't hit the ball consistently all year, up and down the lineup, but we did today. It was fun."

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Kammin, Red Sox roll in IABA tourney

WATKINS - Zach Kammin has added some extra sizzle to his fastball since having Tommy John surgery in May of 2017.

As it turned out, he was much too fast for the Muscatine Flames in the 2018 IABA state tournament on Saturday.

Kammin fanned eight batters and pitched a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings as the Williamsburg Red Sox doused the Flames, 7-0, in the second round of the tournament in Watkins.

The Red Sox also blanked the Calmar Cats, 10-0, in the opening round Saturday and earned a bye into the second week of the state tournament next weekend in Norway.

Williamsburg General Manager Lloyd Brockshus took Kammin out of the game with one out in the sixth inning to protect Kammin's talented right arm after he had thrown about 60 pitches.

You don't usually yank a pitcher when he's tossing a no-hitter, but the Red Sox have been nursing Kammin all season and Brockshus did not want to risk a physical setback with a 7-0 cushion.

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Williamsburg, Stars earn top IABA seeds

Sometimes, Loras Schulte says it can be a struggle to put together the bracket for the 12-team IABA State Baseball Tournament.

That was not the case this year.

"The tournament really pretty much seeded itself," said Schulte, president of the IABA. "The host teams are always placed at their home sites and with six (Iowa Valley League) teams in the tournament, two teams had to be assigned to each site."

IVL champion Williamsburg and the runner-up Stars are the top two seeds. Williamsburg will open tournament play at 2 p.m. Saturday in Watkins against the Calmar Cats, following the opener between the Muscatine Flames and Watkins at noon.

The Stars, last year's IABA champion, will begin play at noon in Walford against the Muscatine Road Runners, followed by the Allison Cats against Walford.

"It was really close between those two as the top two seeds, so they get the advantage of playing closer to home," Schulte said. "That meant Red Top and Norway had to play at the site in the Quad Cities."

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Williamsburg claims 1st title since 1977

WILLIAMSBURG - Zach Brown summed up the day perfectly.

"Make sure you talk to Lloyd," said the long-time Williamsburg first baseman. "I know there is nobody happier about this than him."

Brown was referring to long-time Williamsburg general manager Lloyd Brockshus, who has been part of the Iowa Valley League franchise in one role or another for 53 years. During that time there have been several lean years, but not this year.

The Red Sox had not won an IVL title since 1977, according to official league records, but that drought ended Sunday following some anxious moments in Williamsburg.

Williamsburg built a 3-0 lead in the opener against Red Top, only to see the Toppers rally for a 4-3 victory. That meant the Red Sox had to get a win in the nightcap to secure the title.

Again, the hosts built a 3-0 lead only to see Red Top rally twice to tie the game. With the contest knotted 4-4 in the sixth, Williamsburg scored four times off reliever Lecari Elion, the key hit a two-run double from Nick Sueppel. They held on in the seventh to win, 8-5.

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Stars forfeit 2 games; IVL title in doubt

The Stars have been stripped of two of their victories in the Iowa Valley League this season for using an ineligible player, possibly costing them their second IVL title in a row.

Adam Stolley helped the Stars sweep a doubleheader against Williamsburg on July 15, but Stolley was not on the roster at the time and the Stars have been forced to forfeit those games to the Red Sox.

The Stars thought they had clinched the IVL championship this past Sunday when they swept a doubleheader from Watkins, giving them a three-game lead with two games left in the campaign, but now that's on hold.

Williamsburg can win the title by splitting a doubleheader against Red Top this Sunday in the final games of the year. The Stars could still win the title by sweeping their twinbill against Norway, if Williamsburg loses both of its games against Red Top.

Stolley, who played at Linn-Mar and Mount Mercy, has been a member of the Stars for the past three years, but he was omitted from their official roster when all six teams submitted their lists at a preseason league meeting on May 22 in the Amanas.

"We left him off the roster by accident," Stars Manager Chico Lizarraga said Wednesday night. "It came back to bite us in the butt.

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Berst ready for next step at Iowa

Matt Berst certainly looks the part.

That "look" would be one of a starting catcher for the University of Iowa next season.

The former Cedar Rapids Kennedy all-state catcher was a late addition to the Hawkeye baseball program last summer after originally committing to Illinois State. The 6-foot, 200-pounder spent his freshman year backing up Tyler Cropley, who was selected in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Washington Nationals.

With Cropley's departure, a huge void needs to be filled. Berst, who is spending the summer playing for the Stars in the Iowa Valley League, is one of the contenders to replace Cropley.

He had a stellar prep career at Kennedy. Twice Berst was named first-team all-state by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association. He batted .416 as a senior with six home runs despite playing with a shoulder injury much of the season.

Former Cougar teammates Zach Daniels and Sammy Lizarraga were part of the Iowa program and sold Hawkeye Coach Rick Heller on his skills. Heller made a late offer to Berst and he jumped at the chance to play for the Hawkeyes."

"Coach Heller had a lot of confidence in me and he wants us to bring that to the field every day," Berst said. "He really stresses doing things the right way, all the little things including being a good teammate and playing hard."

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Williamsburg blasts Norway in IVL

NORWAY - The Williamsburg Red Sox blasted the Norway Bandits in their Iowa Valley League doubleheader on Sunday, winning both games 13-2 at the Norway field.

Zack Brown went 5-for-5 to lead Williamsburg in the first game. Truman Schmidt belted a grand slam. Nick Sueppel hit a home run and scored four times for the Sox.

Tanner Jansen benefited from all that hitting and was the winning pitcher with eight strikeouts. Braedon Brown had two hits for Norway.

Garrett Saunders went 5-for-5 for Williamsburg in Game 2 and excelled at shortstop. Sueppel socked a grand slam and drove in five runs. Hogan Penny had three hits and three RBIs for the Red Sox.

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