Seth Mommsen is having a postseason that would thrill any player. Doing it as the lone senior on Northeast’s baseball team just makes it even more memorable.
Mommsen drove in Northeast’s first two runs with a triple, scored the go-ahead run moments later, earned the save on the pitcher’s mound and capped a six-run sixth inning with his second grand slam in five days Wednesday night to lead the Rebels past Camanche 10-3 in a Class 2A District 6 semifinal game.
“What can you say about Seth?” Northeast coach Kyle Miller said. “It can’t happen to a better kid. Seth really struggled at the beginning of the season, but he’s as hot as anyone now. When we were sitting at 5-14 he could have quit. Now we’re back at .500 (17-17).”
The Rebels will try to climb above .500 in Saturday’s 7 p.m. district final against Dyersville Beckman in Maquoketa.
“Him being the only senior, I was so excited for him,” winning pitcher Cole Dickey said.
“I’m the only senior, and I don’t want to go down,” Mommsen said. “I don’t want to leave this team.”
Thanks in great part to him, Mommsen’s senior season will last at least one more game. And he wrapped up the win in a stylish way.
The Rebels already had tacked on two insurance runs when Mommsen drilled reliever Brady Grell’s second pitch over the left-field fence. Although the grand slam didn’t carry the same drama as his seventh-inning shot with two outs Saturday that sent the Rebels past North Cedar 7-4, it probably will be the lasting memory of the win over the Indians. It came with the same three runners on base.
“It was kind of goofy,” Mommsen said. “The coaches said a base hit would do a lot. Grell is a great pitcher, and I was able to turn on one.”
But, he said a repeat performance of Saturday was the furthest thing from his mind.
“I never think that,” he said. “I’m not the strongest guy out there. I knew I got a good piece of it.”
The blast ended the season for Camanche (15-12), which had beaten Northeast twice in the regular season on its way to tying for the Big East Conference title.
“We accomplished one of our goals, winning the conference championship, but, of course, we wanted to go farther,” Camanche coach Darryl Cochran said. “I told the kids we had nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great season for us.”
Mommsen’s triple helped change the momentum of the game, but before his big night began, the Rebels came up big on the defensive end.
Camanche had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Brett Johnson singled past Dickey, stole second and scored on Grell’s single to right field. The Indians were looking for more in the second when Dalles Johnson singled, Luke Reppert walked and Taylor Grim reached on a perfectly placed bunt single between Dickey and first baseman Levi Trenkamp.
“I had to increase my focus,” Dickey said, “but I knew the defense would play well behind me.”
It came up big when second baseman Nick Bailey fielded a sharp grounder by Brandon Jewell and started a 4-6-3 double play. Even though a run scored, the play helped settle down Dickey, who struck out Brett Johnson to end the inning.
“It was a big turnaround,” Cochran said of the double play.
“That double play really picked me up,” Dickey said. “It helped me start throwing better and with more confidence.”
Dickey retired eight of the next 10 batters, getting another double play to erase one of the two Indians who reached base.
“Cole threw well, and once he settled in we played really good defense,” Miller said.
But Camanche made things interesting in the top of the sixth.
With his team trailing 4-2, TJ Runge laced a line-drive double over the leaping Bailey and into right-center. He moved to third on a groundout, then scored on a wild pitch. When Jacob Klone singled, it ended Dickey’s night on the mound.
Enter Mommsen, who struck out Dalles Johnson, then threw two wild pitches — the second as he walked Reppert to put runners on the corners. He got out of trouble, though, when Grim hit into a forceout at second to preserve the 4-3 lead.
“I really didn’t want to do too much; I’m not a strikeout pitcher,” Mommsen said. “Our defense did one heck of a job tonight.”
Cochran said: “They executed, and we didn’t. Just when we thought we had the momentum shift, like in the sixth, it went the other way.”
Into an inning the Indians would rather forget.
Dickey started it with a single and scored on Trenkamp’s double for a 5-3 lead. A wild pickoff throw allowed Trenkamp to take third, and he scored with one out on a throwing error on Bailey’s grounder to third. A bunt single by Charlie Marcucci and a single to center by Tevin Stoecker then set the stage for Mommsen’s grand slam/
Mommsen found himself in the middle of things all night. That started in the third inning when the Rebels trailed 2-0.
Marcucci led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk, and fellow freshman Stoecker followed with Northeast’s first hit of the game, a single to center off Jewell. Mommsen followed with a long fly ball to right-center, and he was able to beat a strong relay throw to turn it into a game-tying, hustle triple.
“I just wanted to hit it hard and be a aggressive,” Mommsen said.
Mommsen then put Northeast ahead to stay when he scored on DJ Fulton’s groundout to second base.
With the momentum changing to their way, the Rebels added a key run in the fourth that symbolized the type of day it would be for Camanche.
Northeast had runners on the corners with two outs when Jewell tried a play that seldom seems to work. He faked a pickoff throw to third base, then turned and fired to first. The move caught Marcucci leaning toward second base with no chance of getting back to first safely. So, he did the next best thing. He got in a rundown, and Trenkamp managed to score from third when second baseman Reppert’s throw to the plate was off target.
“Charlie did the right thing and got in the rundown,” Miller said. “Levi got a tremendous break. I don’t know if a good throw gets him. Levi is not the fastest guy, but he has great instincts. That was a big run.”
At least until the sixth inning that ensured a longer season for Mommsen.
NORTHEAST 10, CAMANCHE 3
Camanche 110 001 0 — 3 7 2
Northeast 003 106 x — 10 8 0
Brandon Jewell (L 0-2, 5 1⁄3 ip, 7 h, 9 r, 8 er, 5 bb, 2 so), Brady Grell (2/3 ip, 1 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 0 so) and Jacob Klone; Cole Dickey (W 5-5, 5 1⁄3 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 3 er, 3 bb, 5 so), Seth Mommsen (Sv 2, 1 2⁄3 ip, 0 h, 0 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 2 so) and DJ Fulton. Multiple hits — Camanche (TJ Runge 2); Northeast (Tevin Stoecker 2, Mommsen 2). 2B — Camanche (Runge); Northeast (Levi Trenkamp). 3B — Northeast (Mommsen). HR — Northeast (Mommsen). RBIs — Camanche (Grell); Northeast (Mommsen 6, Fulton, Trenkamp).