Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand tried everything physically possible to pull himself out of a senior season funk that left the City High left-hander with an 0-3 record and 7.64 ERA.
When none of those changes worked Threlkeld-Wiegand turned his attention to his mental approach.
It turns out all Threlkeld-Wiegand needed was a little pre-game peace and quiet.
“I’ve started doing some meditation and I think that has helped,” Threlkeld-Wiegand said. “I’ve tried to follow a routine to deal with stress and anxiety through breathing and things like that.”
Whatever Threlkeld-Wiegand did before a Monday meeting with Class 4A third-ranked Western Dubuque worked wonders.
Threlkeld-Wiegand tossed six shutout innings to help City High to a 1-0 win over Western Dubuque in game one of a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Mercer Park in Iowa City.
“It’s been all in my head,” Threlkeld-Wiegand. “Early in the season all I was thinking was don’t walk people and then the walks just piled up from there. Now I’m just focusing on each pitch and not focusing on what happened before and that’s helping me a lot.”
Western Dubuque used a four-run sixth inning to rally for a 7-4 win in the nightcap to escape with a split and move to 22-6 and 17-5 in MVC play.
The doubleheader split moved City High to 19-9 and 13-9 in conference play and came after the Little Hawks were swept in an MVC doubleheader by fifth-ranked Linn-Mar on Friday.
“I think that walking away you feel like we played two pretty good games,” City High coach Brian Mitchell said. “I think was a big one for us to get over that hurdle. We have been good but we just haven’t taken that next step and I felt like we took a step tonight.”
City High took a step forward with the split against a top-five team but the biggest breakthrough of the night came from Threlkeld-Wiegand.
Threlkeld-Wiegand was a top of the rotation starter a year ago when he led the Little Hawks with seven wins.
This season was a struggle from the outset for Threlkeld-Wiegand who walked 24 batters and hit seven more in his first six starts.
“As a pitcher if you have a bad outing where you are walking a lot of guys it feels like all the blame is on you because your teammates can’t do anything about you walking guys,” Threlkeld-Wiegand said. “I was pretty hard on myself.”
On Monday the 6-foot-4 lefthander finally put things together.
Threlkeld-Wiegand allowed just two hits, singles to Zach Bierman and Sam Goodman, and walked four in six strong innings.
He struck out six against a Western Dubuque lineup that was shutout for just the third time this season.
“I thought we did a really good job tonight of not being on our heels,” Mitchell said. “I kind of felt like Ry set the tone for us and kept putting up zeros against some pretty darn good hitters in the middle of their lineup.”
Threlkeld-Wiegand retired the first six batters he faced before a leadoff walk to Matt Maiers in the third.
He escaped trouble that inning when he got Casey Perrenoud to lineout to short and struck out leadoff hitter Damon Jaeger to end the inning.
“I had good confidence in my fastball and curve ball and I was able to mix pitches well,” Threlkeld-Wiegand said. “When I did fall behind in counts I was able to battle back rather than walking people which had been a big problem.”
City High scored the only run of the game off Western Dubuque all-stater Sam Goodman in the fourth.
Gable Mitchell and Liam McComas led off the inning with back-to-back singles but Mitchell was cut down at home attempting to score on a Zach Kuepker single to right.
City High scored the game’s only run two batters later on a Ben Steve RBI groundout.
“We know what kind of a team we are and what we can do,” McComas said. “If we put the ball in play good things happen as we saw tonight.”
That proved to be enough for Threlkeld-Wiegand who escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the seventh by striking out Kyle Lehman looking, getting Bierman to fly out to right and then getting Payton Quagliano to ground out to first.
“He was great, he’s been struggling for the first half of the season trying to find that groove that he got into last year,” McComas said of Threlkeld-Wiegand. “It’s really nice to see this coming at the right time and him getting ready for the playoff run.”
Sam Lewers worked a scoreless seventh to secure the save for City High.
The Little Hawks took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning of the nightcap on a RBI double by Lewers but Western Dubuque answered with four runs in the top of the sixth.
Lehman homered twice and drove in four runs in the nightcap.
“You are disappointed losing any game but you just kind of felt like for the most part tonight we won most every inning throughout,” Mitchell said. “Obviously they had a big inning in there that got to us but I think our at bats were pretty good.”
Western Dubuque 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
City High 000 100 x – 1 6 0
W – Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand L – Sam Goodman SV – Sam Lewers
2B – WD: Matt Maiers
Western Dubuque 010 204 0 – 7 11 2
City High 300 010 0 – 4 6 0
W – Kyle Lehmann L – Sam Lewers
2B – ICH: Garrett Bormann, Sam Lewers. WD: Calvin Harris, Sam Goodman
HR – WD: Kyle Lehman (2)
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