HARLAN, Iowa — It probably wasn’t the ideal situation for Harlan baseball coach Steve Daeges to pick up career win No. 500.
The Cyclones trotted out eighth-grader Nick Tarney for his first varsity start against Class 3-A top-rated Sioux City Heelan. Tarney earned praise from his coach, but Philip Jacobson led a 13-hit attack with two homers and five RBIs as the Crusaders hammered No. 4 Harlan 12-1 in six innings at Jim Goeser Field.
“It’s Heelan-Harlan. If you can’t get up for Harlan, you don’t have much of a pulse,” Heelan coach Andy Osborne said. “I told our guys that’s about as complete of a victory as I can remember.”
Heelan improved to 3-0 while Harlan dropped to 2-2. In 14 of the past 18 years, at least one of the teams has appeared in the state tournament, and five times they both advanced. They’ve combined for four state titles in that span.
Jacobson blasted a two-run homer far over the left-field fence in the third to put his team up 3-0. In the fourth, the junior drove a three-run shot out to left to push the lead to 8-0.
Jacobson hit .400 on the varsity last season, but had just one home run as power-hitting brother Paul, now at South Dakota State, was the offensive star. Philip Jacobson said he’d like to hit for more power this season.
“We’re always looking to improve, and that’s something I’ve worked on,” he said.
Heelan posted more than enough offense for Tyler Cropley, who took a no-hitter into the sixth and allowed two hits in the final frame. He struck out six and walked none.
“He was pretty dialed in tonight,” Osborne said.
Young Tarney has already earned the starting catcher job, and despite what his ERA might say, Daeges was impressed with his effort on the mound.
“Really, I kind of liked what we saw out of him,” he said. “If they’re not the best hitting 3-A team in the state, then I don’t want to see the other one.”
Jacobson finished 3 for 4, and Daulton Sauce was 3 for 3 with an RBI. Connor Niles and Cropley added two hits apiece.
Next week Daeges likely will become the 57th Iowa coach to win 500 games. Jim Struve of Vinton-Shellsburg (500-304) became No. 56 on Thursday.
Daeges is 499-180 (.735), and of the 56 coaches already in the 500-win club, only eight have a better winning percentage than Daeges, in his 20th year, all at Harlan. (Two of the 56 didn’t have total losses listed.)
“I think it’s an honor any time you can be with guys that have coached baseball this long,” he said of reaching the milestone. “I think it takes a certain amount of love of the game of baseball, to do it long enough to get 500 wins. I really do. I think you have to like being out here and being around it.”
SC Heelan (3-0) ........................... 012 504—12 13 2
At Harlan (2-2) ........................... 000 001—1 2 1
W: Tyler Cropley. L: Nick Tarney. 2B: SCH, Trenton Solsma, Cropley, Daulton Sauce; H, Nate Gettys. HR: H, Philip Jacobson 2.
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