St. Albert starts fast, beats Logan-Magnolia in five innings to advance to substate final

St. Albert pitcher Ethan Bernard, wearing helmet at left, celebrates at home plate with teammates after cracking a two-run homer in the second inning of Saturday's Class 1-A, District 14 final against Logan-Magnolia.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Council Bluffs St. Albert, which outscored its opponents 31-8 in its first two district games, didn’t want to let up in the Class 1-A, District 14 final.

That was apparent from the start when Lance Wright blasted the first Logan-Magnolia pitch over the center-field wall.

Ethan Bernard added another homer for the host Falcons and picked up the win on the mound as St. Albert cruised to a 10-0 win over the Panthers in five innings Saturday at Chuck Wolever Field.

The Falcons pounded out 11 hits and took advantage of four Panther errors in earning a berth in the Substate 7 final Tuesday in Creston.

St. Albert coach Duncan Patterson said he likes what he’s been seeing out of his offense.

“They’re seeing the ball pretty good, and they’ve seen a couple of pitchers with different velocities. So they’re staying back or they’re starting early enough to get that bat on the ball. It’s pretty exciting to watch when they can hit like that,” Patterson said.

Logan-Magnolia starter Trevor Wills had combined with Joe Hedger to no-hit Stanton on Tuesday in a semifinal, but that didn’t seem to matter to St. Albert, which scored four runs in the opening inning and had at least one run in every inning after that.

Wright, who was 2 for 4 with a double, said St. Albert’s approach was to look for hard stuff early in plate appearances, and it paid off when he put the Falcons on the board on the first pitch.

“As a team, we really like to attack fastballs because you really don’t know what you’re going to get in the rest of your at-bats. So I saw a fastball there. That kind of helps when you see that first-pitch fastball and you jump on it,” Wright said.

After Wright’s home run, St. Albert (24-13) made it 2-0 thanks to an error by Panther third baseman Hedger, and Jeff Miller added a two-run single as the advantage swelled to 4-0.

Bernard’s two-run homer, his fourth home run of the year, put the Falcons up 6-0 in the second inning.

Bernard said the rest of the team fed off Wright’s success at the beginning of the game.

“I think it’s just really contagious.” Bernard said. “I mean, from the start when Lance hit that ball out, I think we all just got confident, and we just got real hot.”

Bernard’s shutout improved his record to 9-1. He allowed just four hits while striking out five with no walks.

Logan-Magnolia coach Kurtis Hinkel said he wasn’t surprised with St. Albert’s aggressiveness at the plate.

“We knew they were going to hit the ball well. We just didn’t respond well at all. We weren’t able to keep the ball down as well as we wanted to, and they capitalized on hit. They’ve got nine guys that can hit,” Hinkel said.

Isaac Sherrill’s long single scored Cy Patterson in the fifth inning to end the game early as the Falcons moved on.

The Panthers end their season at 14-15.

Logan-Magnolia (14-15).....000   00—  0     4 4

At St. Albert (24-13).......... 421   12—10 11 0

W: Ethan Bernard. L: Trevor Wills. HR: SA, Lance Wright, Ethan Bernard. 2B: LM, Colton Hanlon; SA, Cy Patterson 2, Wright.

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