Crest wins, now waits

Gutsy pitching from Stetson Setter and a pair of key hits from Stratton McGhee have Crest one win away from a state tournament bid. But first, the Lancers must wait until Friday because of rainy weather.



May 20, 2021 - 10:05 AM

Crest High’s Stratton McGhee laces a key two-run single in the Lancers’ 4-0 victory over Central Heights Wednesday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

HUMBOLDT — Crest High will have to wait a bit longer before continuing its quest to capture the school’s first-ever state baseball tournament bid.

The Lancers rode the right arm of Stetson Setter and the bat of Stratton McGhee Wednesday to a 4-0 victory over Central Heights in the semifinals of their Class 2-1A Regional Tournament.

That’s when Mother Nature intervened.

Rains arrived in the top of the third of the Southern Lyon County-Lebo/Waverly semifinal to determine who would face the Lancers for the regional crown. When it became obvious the rains would not let up any time soon, tournament organizers suspended play until Friday morning.

Play will pick up in the top of the third at 10 a.m. Friday at the Humboldt Sports Complex, with the Lancers set to play the winner immediately afterward.

“That’s the one thing we can’t control — the weather,” Crest head coach Roland Weir said.

What the Lancers can control — and have done so brilliantly — is their pitching.

Crest pitchers have yet to allow a run in the regional tournament, and still have yet to put their ace, sophomore Trevor Church, on the mound. He’s expected to get the nod in Friday’s championship game.

Crest High’s Stetson Setter, foreground, and Jack White converge on a foul pop Wednesday against Central Heights. White made the catch in Crest’s 4-0 victory.Photo by Richard Luken

It was Setter, another young Crest sophomore, who gutted through his scoreless outing.

He allowed the leadoff batter to get on via hit or walk in three consecutive innings, had multiple showdowns with runners in scoring position, and managed to thwart every challenge, anyway.

“He got himself into a little bit of trouble,” Weir chuckled. “But he put a nail in their coffin each time, too.”

Weir had to lift Setter with one out in the sixth inning because the sophomore had reached his limit of 105 pitches. So he brought in another sophomore in Jack White, who proceeded to strike out three of the final five Viking batters without allowing a baserunner.

“As we’ve said all along, our pitching has probably been our strongest suit all along,” Weir said. “And we’re sitting in good shape. I have full confidence in Jack White coming in to pitch for us if we need him.”

That said, securing the victory was anything but easy.

Central Heights starter Luke Barkdoll — another sophomore — was Setter’s equal early on in allowing baserunners, but wiggling off the hook.

The Lancers left the bases loaded twice in the first three innings, and had runners stranded at second and third in another.

It wasn’t until Stratton McGhee came to bat with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the third that the Lancers broke through. He laced a single back up the middle to push Crest up, 2-0.

He smacked another single in the bottom of the fifth, after Burkdoll began to tire, to drive in a third run.