After dropping the first meeting between the two schools back in March, the New Franklin Bulldogs baseball team shrugged it off knowing that they had a bigger fish to fry come district time in May.
Although Pilot Grove entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and New Franklin the No. 2, the Bulldogs had the last laugh last night by avenging the loss with a convincing 9-1 victory.
New Franklin, 14-4 on the season, will now advance to the sectional round of the state tournament on Monday, May 20 at Stoutland. Stoutland won the Class 1 District 9 title last night by beating Tuscumbia 11-1.
New Franklin coach Erich Gerding said the team didn’t get off to the start they wanted to, but they had some huge clutch hits from the top of the order after the bottom did their jobs by getting on. “What a game from Tyler Hull,” Gerding said. “These guys deserve this, but it’s time to get focused on what’s up next.”
The Bulldogs definitely left little doubt against Pilot Grove. After a scoreless first, New Franklin came back and plated one run in the top-half of the second and then added four runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings of play to make it 9-0. Then, in the bottom-half of the seventh, Pilot Grove scored its first run of the ballgame to no avail.
Pilot Grove coach Clint Poulsen said the game was simply dominated by Tyler Hull.  
“We only managed three hits against him and that was the ballgame,” Hull said. “Our pitchers did a good job of throwing strikes and keeping us in the game, but New Franklin got hits when they needed them.  Disappointing end to an otherwise good season.”
Not for junior pitcher Tyler Hull, who was dominating in his own right last night. While picking up the complete-game victory, Hull also struck out 15 batters and gave up one run on three hits and two walks.
As for Pilot Grove, freshman Regan Meisenheimer took the loss on the mound for the Tigers. in 3 1/3 innings, Meisenheimer gave up four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two. Trenton Young then came in and pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief and surrendered five runs on five hits and four walks. Then, to finish the game, Alex Twenter pitched 2 1/3 innings and struck out four batters while giving up one hit and one walk.
New Franklin also their bats working last night, with Alex Holem going 2-for-4 with a double, home run and one RBI. Tanner White was 2-for-5 with a single, double and four RBIs while Tyler White added two singles and four RBIs, Evan Storjohann with two singles and Zach Evans with one double.
As for the hitting in the game for Pilot Grove, who closed out the season at 12-5 overall, Aaron Waibel went 2-for-3 with two singles while Grant Felten had the only other hit with one single.