Lincoln Gassman shuts out Tabor in 2-0 winAnother memorable game for Lincoln and Garrett Gassman. The pitcher-catcher combination for Canova/Howard was in full force Tuesday night, helping their team to a 2-0 win over Tabor in the second round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Another memorable game for Lincoln and Garrett Gassman.
The pitcher-catcher combination for Canova/Howard was in full force Tuesday night, helping their team to a 2-0 win over Tabor in the second round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Lincoln Gassman — a right-handed, hard-throwing pitcher — recorded a complete-game four-hitter with 15 strikeouts.
Garrett Gassman, his cousin, said it was one of Lincoln’s best games all season.
“We have pretty good chemistry,” said Garrett, whose team advanced to the quarterfinals, where it will play Alexandria at 6 p.m. Friday. “I’ve been catching him since I was about 10 years old, and we’ve been playing together since I was about 5. We’ve put a lot of work in together, and it’s paid off.”
Lincoln threw about 90 percent fastballs, including two that popped Garrett’s glove for the first two pitches of the game. He struck out at least one batter each inning, while striking out the side in the seventh.
Canova/Howard scored an early run to allow Lincoln to settle in, and the Gang added their second run in the third inning. Lincoln said it was another great state tournament memory, especially considering Garrett was behind the plate calling his pitches.
“We’ve been in this situation time and time again,” said Lincoln, who threw 167 pitches, mixing in a curve ball and a changeup here and there. “It was just another one of those nights.”
Canova/Howard’s 15-0 win over the Renner Old Timers in the opening round was the team’s first victory at Cadwell Park since its 2009 state championship. Last year, Canova/Howard was beat out in the first round by eventual champion Crofton, Neb.
Tuesday night, Gassman did everything he could to keep the Gang’s title hopes alive.
Tabor, which got a strong pitching performance from starter Gary Kortan, had threats in the fourth and fifth innings. But Canova/Howard’s defense, coupled with Gassman’s dominance, was too good.
The Bluebirds had runners on second and third in the fourth with no outs, but a tap out to the pitcher, a soft liner to short and a strikeout looking killed the rally. In the fifth, Tabor had the bases loaded with two out, but Gassman got a routine fly out to keep the Bluebirds scoreless.
“Gassman was great,” Kortan said. “The fourth and the fifth, those were the two big innings that got us. We were a hit or two short, and a call or two short.”
Kortan tossed seven innings and allowed eight hits. He struck out five and allowed one earned run.
Canova/Howard executed a perfect hit-and-run in the first inning, pushing leadoff hitter Trevor Oswald to third after he opened with a single to left. Garrett Gassman singled Oswald into scoring position, and Thomas Gulledge hit a hard ball to third that Tabor fielder Doug Vanecek couldn’t handle. The error gave the Gang a 1-0 lead.
In the third, Garrett Gassman had a one-out single. His courtesy runner, Dan Noonan, scored two batters later when Devin Alfson tripled to deep center for the game’s lone RBI.
From there, Lincoln Gassman did the rest.
“You don’t necessarily have to score a lot of runs with him out there,” Garrett Gassman said. “He’s going to have your back. He got in a couple of jams, but he got some big strikeouts to get out of there.”
Tabor went down in order in the sixth and seventh innings, but put together a run-scoring opportunity in the eighth. Ross Kortan was called out at the plate on a strong relay from Canova/Howard. Tabor cleanup hitter Brett Scherschligt doubled to left, sending Kortan toward home from first. But the Alfson to Oswald to Garrett Gassman relay was picture perfect, allowing for a tag at the ankle before Kortan slid across.
Offensively for Canova/Howard, Garrett Gassman had three singles and Alfson had a triple and an eighth-inning single.
Tabor had four players with one hit apiece. Steve Fejfar reached all four times he was at the plate with three walks and a hit by pitch.
NOTES: Gassman’s 15 strikeout performance is second to Alexandria’s Trever Vermeulen for strikeouts in one game during this year’s tournament. Vermeulen had 17 strikeouts in a first-round win against Wessington Springs. … Gassman struck out Doug Vanecek all four times, all of which were swinging. … Alfson was called out at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning on a close play. … Jon Vavruska pitched the final inning for Tabor. He allowed one hit.