DES MOINES – Gavin Sheakley pitched a complete-game two-hitter and earned his second win of the state tournament to lead sixth-seeded Clear Lake past second-seeded Harlan 7-2 in the Class 3A semifinals Friday afternoon at Principal Park. With the win, the Lions advance to their first-ever state championship game.
Clear Lake took control early, scoring four runs in the first, two more in the second, and added another in the third to take a 7-0 lead. It was all the Lions would need, outhitting the Cyclones 9-2 in the game, knocking out Harlan starting pitcher Nick Kaufman (5-2) after one inning of work.
The Lions jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first on four singles. Luke Schiller and Brock Adams started the rout with back-to-back singles. The next batter, Mitch Keeran, drew a base-on-balls to load the bases with only one out. Brandon Tofte grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, driving in Schiller for the first run. Pete Swenson hit an RBI single, followed by a two-run single by Matt Stephany.
In the second, Clear Lake bolstered its lead off two Harlan errors, scoring two unearned runs. The first two batters of the inning, Jerry Kockler and Gavin Sheakley, reached on errors. Sheakley advanced to all the way to third on the error, scoring Kockler from first. With one out in the inning, Adams grounded out to third, scoring Sheakley.
The Lions scored one more in the third off a leadoff single by Stephany, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Rowdy Yates flied out to centerfield, Kockler singled, driving in Stephany.
After five scoreless innings, Harlan found its way onto the scoreboard in the sixth with two runs, cutting the deficit to 7-2. Nate Gettys started the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball. Dillion Sears and Jake Daeges followed with a walk and single, respectively, to load the bases with no outs. The next batter, David Ratigan smacked a two-run single with Daeges called out at second on the play. The Lions would escape the inning without further damage, getting Nick Tarney to fly out and striking out Cale Stork to end the inning.
Daeges pitched five solid innings for the Cyclones, allowing one earned run on five hits.
Sheakley (12-0) was the winning pitcher in relief in the Lions’ first-round win over Chariton.
Second-ranked Clear Lake advances to the finals on a 16-game winning streak to take on unranked and fifth-seeded Davenport Assumption (26-15) Saturday at 6 p.m.
Third-ranked Harlan ends the season at 37-4.