One-hit gem puts Trojans in substate final
By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
CALAMUS — Mention “Preston,” “pitching” and “Bormann” together and thoughts might naturally go to Kelcie Bormann, the senior all-state pitcher who has led Preston’s softball team into this week’s state tournament for the third time in four years.
But there’s another Bormann, Kelcie’s younger brother Colton, who pitches, too. And he took center stage Saturday.
“Colton ain’t so bad, either,” said his father, Mark, Preston’s baseball coach.
“It’s fun watching her,” Colton Bormann said of his sister. “I just go out and play my own game.”
He might never have done it better than Saturday.
Colton Bormann retired the first 13 batters he faced and flirted with a no-hitter for 6 1⁄3 innings before settling for a one-hit gem in Preston’s 4-0 victory against Midland for the Class 1A District 7 baseball championship.
“He was pitching amazing,” said shortstop Jason Feddersen, who hit a run-scoring triple and then capped the win with a solo home run. “I can’t say enough about him. It was one of his best (games) of the year.”
The win left the Trojans (21-11) one win shy of advancing to the state tournament for the second year in a row. They will face Iowa Mennonite School of Kalona (16-12) in the Substate 4 championship for that opportunity at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Iowa City West.
“The goal all year has been to get back there,” Feddersen said. “Now (in the postseason), it’s one game at a time.”
The wins won’t come any easier than Saturday, however. Bormann didn’t need any spectacular plays behind him, and his defense made all the routine plays.
“They were there all night,” Bormann said of his defense.
Bormann had thrown just 68 pitches (42 strikes) through six innings. Just two days after throwing 3 1⁄3 innings of relief against East Central, he labored a bit more in the seventh. He had three-ball counts on each of the first three batters and needed 27 pitches to finish off the win.
The second batter of the inning, Kasey Lasack, finally broke up the no-hit bid with a long fly into the left-field corner that went for a one-out double.
“I don’t think I was too tired; the adrenaline kicked in,” Bormann said. “I just kind of hung a curve. I knew it was a hit. I just forgot about it and moved on.”
He said the one bad pitch he threw Thursday — Austin Daniels hit it for a two-run home run that put East Central ahead — bothered him more than Lasack’s double.
Until Lasack’s hit, the only challenging plays for Preston’s defense came after Bormann lost his perfect game by hitting Levi Kozlowski with a pitch with one out in the top of the fifth inning.
“It was in the back of my mind,” Bormann said of the perfect game, “but I was not too worried about it. That one (the hit batter — Kozlowski appeared to lean into the pitch) did (upset him a bit), but I shook it off.”
Kozlowski tried to steal second but was tagged out when second baseman Craiton Andresen leapt to grab the high throw and came down with his glove on the sliding Kozlowski’s helmet.
Bormann walked the next batter, Ryan Andresen, on a 3-2 pitch, but third baseman Matt Zeimet prevented any further damage with a quick-reaction backhand stop of Marshall Shedeck’s grounder to third.
“We made all the plays,” coach Bormann said.
Midland (19-15) managed just one more baserunner — Tyler Stepp walked on a 3-2 pitch after Lasack doubled — but Colton Bormann struck out the next two batters to end the game. He finished with five strikeouts in the 95-pitch performance.
“All my pitches were working: fastball, cutter, curveball,” Bormann said.
As it turned out, Bormann got all the offense he needed in the bottom of the first inning.
Keaton Michel walked with one out and went to second on Bormann’s single to left. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, then Alex Hinerichsen was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Blake Tebbe lined out, but Michel scored when Colin Larson followed with a grounder to the right side. It was out of the reach of Stepp, the first baseman, but Ryan Andresen got to it and tried to throw out Hinerichsen at second. Hinerichsen got in ahead of the low throw to shortstop Lasack, although he was tagged out after sliding past the base.
The Trojans added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Zeimet led off with a walk against Midland starting pitcher Trae Osterkamp, advanced on a groundout and scored when Feddersen drilled his triple to the base of the fence in right-center.
“I started to feel more comfortable; maybe some nerves were gone,” Feddersen said of coming up in the fourth. Another advantage was that it was the third time he was facing Osterkamp and his slow stuff.
“It affects you a lot,” Feddersen said of the speed of Osterkamp’s pitching. “We started to adjust to him in the third and fourth and started to sit back on him.”
Shedeck replaced Osterkamp, and Michel and Feddersen executed a successful squeeze bunt on the first pitch for a 3-0 lead.
“That (triple) was huge,” coach Bormann said. “They changed pitchers and I thought that was a good time for a squeeze.”
Feddersen’s home run over the fence in center field with one out in the sixth completed the scoring.
“After that I said just don’t beat yourself now,” coach Bormann said.
And the way his son was performing on the mound, there was little chance of that happening.
PRESTON 4, MIDLAND 0
Midland 000 000 0 — 0 1 0
Preston 100 201 x — 4 7 0
Trae Osterkamp (L 1-3, 3 1⁄3 ip, 6 h, 3 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 2 so, 2 hbp, 1 wp), Marshall Shedeck (2 2⁄3 ip, 1 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 3 so) and Ryan Leonard; Colton Bormann (W 4-4, 7 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 5 so, 1 hbp, 2 wp) and Blake Tebbe. Multiple hits — Preston (Jason Feddersen 2). 2B — Midland (Kasey Lasack). 3B — Preston (Feddersen). HR — Preston (Feddersen). RBIs — Preston (Colin Larson, Feddersen 2, Keaton Michel).