ST. JOSEPH — River Valley’s long baseball district drought is over.
Coach David Sokolowski’s Mustangs snapped a 14-year stretch without winning a district title blanking Michigan Lutheran 14-0 in the Division 4 title tllt, called after five-innings due to the mercy rule.
River Valley also blanked Bridgman 5-0 in a semifinal, while Lutheran thumped Eau Claire 17-0 in three innings.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys’ effort today and this season,” said Sokolowski, whose squad also won the BCS White, its first conference title in 15 years. “Pitching two shutouts was remarkable. Now we have to get ready for the regional.”
River Valley (24-9), rated 14th in Division 4, will play in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Holton, against the winner of the Holton district.
Mustang ace Matt Schmidt blanked Bridgman tossing a complete game four-hitter, striking out eight and walking two. In the title game, Levi Strauss shut out Lutheran, striking out six in the five-inning affair. Both are juniors.
“Schmidt’s effort against Bridgman was phenomenal,” noted Sokolowski, as the big righthander improved to 7-3 on the season and lowered his earned run average a shade under 1.00. “And, Strauss just threw strikes hitting his spots.”
In the championship game, the Mustangs took advantage of the four Titan pitchers’ wildness. River Valley had two big innings. scoring five in the first thanks to two walks, two hit batters, and error, plus two-run doubles by David Bronson and Tyler Montgomery.
In the fourth, the Mustangs tallied six runs without the aid of hit as Titan hurlers walked six and and hit three batters.
“Our two games were complete opposites,” stated Lutheran coach Cale Pauley. “We won the first one with ease throwing a freshman pitcher (Josh Tahaney) and then just couldn’t seem to throw strikes in the championship. Lutheran bowed out at 11-11.
“We just didn’t play very well today,” noted Bridgman coach Justin Hahaj. “But Schmidt is a tough pitcher to handle.”
The Bees ended their solid season at 16-9.
Junior outfielder David Bronson led Mustang hitters combining for eight RBIs, thanks to two doubles and five RBIs against Lutheran, plus a single and three RBIs against Bridgman.
River Valley 14, Michigan Lutheran 0
R. Valley 520 61 — 14 7 1
M. Lutheran 000 00 — 0 3 4
WP — Levi Strauss 6k. LP - Andy Semenak.
Top hitters — RV: Wil Korbel 3b, 1b, 2RBI; Strauss 1b, RBI; David Bronson 2 2b, 4 RBI; Tyler Montgomery 2b 2 RBI. ML: Matt Willis 2 1b.
Records — River Valley 24-9, Michigan Lutheran 11-11.
River Valley 5, Bridgman 0
Bridgman 000 000 0 — 0 4 4
River Valley 001 301 X — 5 8 1
WP - Matt Schmidt complete game, 8K. LP - Henry Branch 5k, 5 bb.
Top hitters - RV: Korbel 2 1b, Schmidt 3 1b, RBI; David Bronson 1b, 3 RBI; Bridgman: Hunter Adams 2 1b.
Record - Bridgman 16-9.
Michigan Lutheran 17, Eau Claire 0
Eau Claire 000 — 0 2 1
M.Lutheran (11)6X — 17 8 0
WP - Josh Tahaney 5k. LP - Joel Gomez.
Top hitters - ML: Jordan Ramirez 1b, 2b, 2 RBIs; Alex Ritter 2 1b, 3 RBIs; Matt Willis 2 1b, RBIs; Semenak 2b, 3 RBIs.