Ryan Gruenwald reacts after he scores the Cardinals’ first run of the game against Mount Vernon in the first round of the playoffs.

Although the Maquoketa Cardinals baseball season ended Monday night with a 5-1 loss to Marion in the substate semifinal, the team first defeated Central DeWitt 5-0 and Mount Vernon 15-5.

On July 14 the Sabers came to Maquoketa for a non-conference game. The Cardinals scored four runs in the first and an insurance run in the fourth to win 5-0. 

Head Coach Ray Cavanagh said Jack Dostal “pitched a whale of a good game,” throwing a complete game shutout. Dostal allowed just three hits, walking one and striking out six against the third-ranked Class 3A Sabers. 

Ryne Gruenwald collected two singles in the lead-off spot. Kole Harmon also had two singles, a base-on-balls, and an RBI. Payton Mangler picked up two RBI on one hit, Dostal and Abe Michel each had a RBI. 

The Cardinals were solid in the field behind Dostal playing error-free baseball.

Then July 17 at the Jack Marlowe Athletic Complex, the Cardinals hosted a Class 3A Substate 4 quarterfinal game as Mount Vernon came to town. 

The Mustangs scored first in the first inning to take a brief 1-0 lead. The Cardinals responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. Maquoketa scored those five runs on six hits and two errors, knocking out the Mustangs’ starter in just 2/3 of an inning because only two of those runs were earned. 

Mangler started on the mound for the Cardinals. He struggled with his control all night, walking six batters while striking out four in five innings and throwing 96 pitches. 

“I could not get a good grip on the ball all night because I was sweating really bad and I could not keep my fingers dry even with a rosin bag,” Mangler said. 

Coach Cavanagh said he wanted to keep Mangler’s pitch count down so he could pitch Monday, but “you have to win tonight to play Monday,” so he left him in there to work through his struggles.

Every hitter in the lineup recorded at least one hit for the Cardinals, with Gruenwald, Harmon, Dostal, Mitchell Roeder, Kannon Coakley, and Kasey Coakley each collecting two hits. Michel had three RBI, Harmon and Roeder chipped in with two RBI. 

“This is the Cardinals’ first postseason win since 2012,” Cavanagh said. “The last couple years the team has took its lumps, but now the team is growing up and playing good ball.”

Marion Indians pitcher Bode Rahe held the hot hitting Cardinals to just five hits, striking out five with zero walks to end Maquoketa’s postseason Monday night in Maquoketa.

Cardinals starting pitcher Mitchell Roeder gutted through four innings allowing three runs on four hits and walking three. He walked the first hitter he faced, setting the stage for the rest of the game. Roeder was behind the count most of the game with numerous full counts.

Hunter Manning reached base all three times he came to the plate, collecting two hits and getting hit by a pitch. He scored the Cardinals’ only run as Jack Dostal hit an RBI single in the fourth inning. 



Maquoketa 5

Central DeWitt 0

CD (15-5) 000 000 0 — 0 3 0

MQ (15-7) 400 100 0 — 5 8 0

Maquoketa — Kole Harmon 2x2; Ryne Gruenwald 2x4; Jack Dostal 1x1; Payton Mangler 1x1; Hunter Manning 1x3; Kannon Coakley 1x3. RBI — Mangler 2; Harmon 1; Dostal 1; Abe Michel 1. WP — Dostal LP — Alex McAleer.


July 21 game stats unavailable at press time.


Maquoketa 15

Mount Vernon 5

(At Maquoketa July 17)

MV (10-11) 100 103 0 —   5   8 3

MQ (16-7)   500 046 0 — 15 15 2

Maquoketa — Kannon Coakley 2x3; Kole Harmon 2x3; Kasey Coakley 2x3; Ryne Gruenwald 2x4; Jack Dostal 2x4; Mitchell Roeder 2x4; Payton Mangler 1x3; Abe Michel 1x3; Hunter Manning 1x4. Doubles — Gruenwald 1; Manning 1; Kannon Coakley 1; Harmon 1; Roeder 1. RBI — Michel 3; Harmon 2; Roeder 2; Gruenwald 1; Manning 1; Kannon Coakley 1; Mangler 1; Kasey Coakley 1. WP — Mangler. LP — Caleb Keen.


Easton Valley 2

Calamus-Wheatland 1

The Easton Valley baseball team experienced a roller coaster of emotions last week, winning a walk-off game against Calamus-Wheatland 2-1 then losing a heartbreaker at the hands of the North Cedar Knights 3-1 to close out the season at 14-1.

Conor Gruver was mobbed between first and second base. He said he’s never had a bigger hit after hitting a 2-2 pitch into left center field for a single, scoring two runs as the Class 1A No. 9 River Hawks walked off the Warriors 2-1 July 14 in a district semifinal game at Miller Park in Miles to keep their perfect season alive. 

The River Hawks had only two hits going into the seventh inning, as Cal-Wheat starter Caleb Banowetz kept them off-balance all game. Banowetz left the game with two outs in the sixth because he reached his pitch limit. The No. 9 hitter Aiden Gruver led the seventh with a pop fly to shallow center field between four Cal-Wheat defenders. 

Lead-off hitter Carson Fuegen followed with a single, then Brig Bormann laid down a perfect bunt for a single to load the bases with no outs, bringing up Connor Gruver, who fouled off some tough pitches before he lined that 2-2 count pitch to left center. 

“I just wanted to put the ball in play and to make good contact with the ball to hopefully get the ball in the outfield,” Connor Gruver said. 

Nate Trenkamp pitched a good game also, allowing three hits and striking out five in five innings of work. Austin Franzen relieved Trenkamp and pitched the final two innings to pick up the win.

But, Easton Valley’s undefeated season ended July 18 back at Miller Field against the North Cedar Knights. 

The River Hawks managed only three hits and one run against the Knights’ pitchers. 

The River Hawks’ lone run came in the sixth inning as Aiden Gruver hit a double to right center, went to third on a balk, then scored on a wild pitch. He hesitated and saw that the catcher could not find the ball even though the ball traveled no more 5 than feet from home. 

Austin Franzen pitched a strong game, allowing only four hits and three runs. The Warrior strung two doubles and two singles together for their runs, ending the River Hawks’ season with a record of 14-1. 

CW (10-5)  000 010 0 — 1 4 0

EV   (14-0) 000 000 2 — 2 6 1

Easton Valley — Ashten Huling 2x3; Conor Gruver 1x1; Carson Fuegen 1x3; Brig Bormann 1x3; Aiden Gruver 1x3. RBI — Conor Gruver 2. WP — Austin Franzen. LP — Brian Forret.


North Cedar 3

Easton Valley 1

(At Miles July 18)

NC (7-7)   000 030 0 — 3 4 0

EV (14-1) 000 001 0 — 1 3 1

Easton Valley — Doubles — Gruver 1. WP — Ethan Sahr. LP — Austin Franzen 



Central DeWitt 10

Maquoketa 0

The Maquoketa Cardinals softball team entered the Class 4A Region 8 state tournament playoffs on a high note, winning the last two games of the regular season before falling to DeWitt.

The Cardinals opened postseason play July 16 in DeWitt against the Sabers. Before the game the girls were loose and relaxed, ready to get the game started. 

Addie Bowman hit a one-out single to left in the first, then batter Jenna Wiebenga hit a hard line drive that the third baseman speared for the second out. Mikaela Burken hit a hot shot that the third baseman backhanded and fired to first to catch Burken for the third out in the first inning. 

Malisha Robert batted a one-out single in the second and led the fifth inning with a single to right center. Bowman was the only Cardinal to reach second base. After her single in the first, Bowman stole second base but got no farther. Wiebenga hit a lengthy fly to left following a long at-bat to end the third inning. 

The Cardinals committed five errors on the night — three in the third inning which helped the Sabers score five runs. Those five runs deflated the Cardinals, and they could not recover. 

Head coach Sara Nelson said errors were a big issue.

“I thought my team came in the game ready to compete after winning the last two games of the season and a strong week of practice leading up to game time put her team in a favorable position to compete,” Nelson said. “The errors are frustrating because the errors are catchable errors, not throwing errors. We need to catch the ball.” 

On a positive note, “This team comes to practice and practices hard. They don’t complain, they just do their work in the cage and in the field,” the coach said.

With no seniors on the roster this year, the Cardinals look to improve next year and years after as the teams starts one junior, three sophomores, and five freshmen, using two eighth-graders as pitchers.

“Once the underclassmen adapt to high school ball, they will be fine,” Nelson said. 

The Cardinals softball team ended the 2020 season with a 4-17 record.

M (4-17)  000 000 0 —   0   3 5

D (13-13) 005 230 0 — 10 11 0

Maquoketa — Addie Bowman 1x1; Malisha Robert 2x2. Stolen Bases — Bowman 1. WP — Paige Owens. LP— Jenna Wiebenga.


Easton Valley 10

Springville 7

The Easton Valley River Hawks softball team had quite a week last week, winning two tournament games and losing one — and all after losing the first seven games of the regular season.

The River Hawks traveled to Springville July 13, picking up the team’s first win of the season by coming from behind and scoring three runs in the sixth — two on a homerun by Dana Carlson. 

After Springville plated two runs in the bottom of sixth, the River Hawks took the lead with six runs in the top of the seventh on five hits, two errors, and one walk.

The River Hawks lost starting catcher Zoe Espirdon in the bottom of the second after a Springville baserunner ran into her on a play at the plate. Espirdon was later taken to the hospital for observation, where doctors said Espirdon suffered a concussion. She returned home and is doing well.

On July 16 the River Hawks traveled to Bellevue to challenge the Marquette Catholic Mohawks at Cole Park. 

With the loss of Espirdon, Coach Taylor Bell made changes, starting with putting Sydney McNeil in the lead-off spot. She responded by going 3x4 with one RBI and scoring twice. 

The River Hawks scored first as Jaysie Wood tripled in the first, scoring McNeil. Wood collected three RBI on the night. The Mohawks came back and had a lead going into the top of the seventh when the River Hawks started its second comeback in as many games.

The River Hawks took their second straight postseason win from the Mohawks in unprecedented fashion. With the Mohawks leading 4-1 going into the top of the seventh, the River Hawks’ bats came alive again. Senior pitcher Calli Beck helped her own cause with a leadoff double. Next, batter Mikayla Mitchell scored Beck with a single. 

Sam Petersen was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base, and McNeil hit a ground ball into the outfield grass to make the score 4-3. 

Wood then sent a looping hit over the first baseman’s glove, scoring two runs and giving the River Hawks a 5-4 lead. Kylee Ready sent Wood home with a double for an insurance run for the final 6-4 lead. 

Beck struck out the Mohawks’ last batter on a swinging strike out to preserve the win. Beck pitched the entire game in her first start of the season, striking out eight, walking three, and giving up five hits. 

Coach Bell said Beck “made a big difference. It helps to have a different look because Wood pitched to all the teams in the regular season.”

The comeback magic ran out as the River Hawks traveled to Central City July 17 and lost 12-0. The River Hawks were held hitless to dash their hopes of making the state tournament.

The River Hawks have a young team with only one senior Calli Beck. They look to improve next season as they get a year older and more experienced.

EV (1-7) 100 003 6 — 10 11 4

SV (9-8) 022 012 0 —   7   5 4

Easton Valley — Kylee Ready 3x4; Renee Hartung 2x4; Dana Carlson 2x4; Addison Messerich 1x4; Jaysie Wood 1x4; Calli Beck 1x4; Sydney McNeil 1x4. Doubles — Ready 1; McNeil 1. Home Run — Carlson 1.  RBI — Ready 3 Carlson 2. Stolen Bases — Hartung 1. WP — Beck. LP — Libby Moore.


Easton Valley 6

Marquette 4

(At Bellevue July 16)

EV (2-7)  6 8 2

MC (8-5) 4 5 x

Easton Valley — Sydney McNeil 3x4; Jaysie Wood 2x4; Calli Beck 1x3; Renee Hartung 1x4; Kylee Ready 1x4. Doubles — Ready 1; Beck 1. Triples — Wood 1.  RBI — Wood 3; McNeil 1; Ready 1; Mikayla Mitchell 1. Stolen Bases — Hartung 1; Beck 1; Addison Messerich 1. WP — Beck. LP — Grace Tath.