The Saints capped off a spectacular regular season Monday, earning the Top of Iowa Conference Championship.
Being the best team in the conference is no easy task. This wasn’t no Lance Armstrong-on-a-10-speed taking a joy-ride through the French Alps. No, this was a 1980s Schwinn with a banana seat and the front basket loaded with mama’s groceries. And the boys must have each ate 4 pounds of white-flower pasta the nights before a game this season because they pedaled hard, baby. And its up-hill both ways if you want to bring home the bacon.
A thorough slogging of Nashua-Plainfield on Monday clinched the title for St. Ansgar, where the Saints put up 15 runs in 4 innings before the umps called in the dogs and put out the fire. Senior Collin Kramer also tossed a no-hitter before the mercy-rule kicked in.
Kramer, the team’s lone senior, has led the way for the Saints on the mound, and boasts a perfect 9-0 record so far. With one game left in the regular season and the playoffs still ahead, he sits third all time on the school’s all-time strike-out list with 288, trailing just Kody Moses (297 in 2007) and Garret Follmuth (343 in 2006). His strike-outs per game is second best in school history at 11.7, so in theory he would need to pitch 5 more games to break the record, and only one to take second place.
Looking ahead, The conference championship should give a boost of confidence to the Saints as they look ahead to Saturday’s first round of playoff games. St. Ansgar also ends the season ranked 7th in the state in the IHSAA polls for class 1A.
The Saints look to be in the drivers seat for the 1A District 5 bracket, and will have home field advantage throughout the district rounds.
Their first game is against AGWSR with a record of 5-13, and if they move on, will face the winner of Rockford vs. Nashua-Plainfield.