CALAMUS — With its pitching, any lead the Calamus-Wheatland baseball team gets can be dangerous.
Saturday, it took just one swing of the bat from senior Tyler Rowold to give the Warriors an advantage it would never relinquish.
And as a result, Cal-Wheat sits just a game away from the program’s second-ever trip to the state baseball tournament.
Rowold’s two-run home run gave the Warriors an early lead and Cal-Wheat pitcher Caleb Banowetz limited visiting Lone Tree to just two hits in a 6-0 1A District 7 finals victory.
The win gives the Warriors (33-3) their fifth district title — their first since 2009 — and advances them to Tuesday’s substate final at Solon against Pekin, who finished its 11-7 victory over Iowa Mennonite on Monday.
After Brant Boeckmann coaxed a walk to open the second inning, Rowold took four straight pitches — two strikes, two balls — before depositing the fifth over the outfield fence in left field for his fourth home run of the year.
The Warriors were not done either. Fellow senior Max Hansen followed with a double, stole third and then scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
That, itself, was more than enough support for Banowetz, who allowed just two singles and struck out 14 Lions — his ninth game with double-digit strikeouts this summer.
Cal-Wheat, though, kept adding to its lead. The Warriors loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning — Hansen walked, Brian Forret was hit by a pitch and Seth Beuthien — and Chase Knoche earned his own walk to bring in a run.
Two innings later, Connor Scheer made it 5-0 when he scored on an error before Rowold drove in Hunter Rickels with a sacrifice fly.
Lone Tree put two players on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Rowold picked off a runner at third for the third out in the former frame, while Banowetz ended the latter with one of his 14 strikeouts (the Lions went down in order in the seventh, the final two on strikes).
Cal-Wheat’s six hits came from six different players — Knoche, Rickels, Banowetz, Rowold, Hansen and Beuthien. Banowetz and Hansen both slugged doubles, while Rowold hammered a home run and drove in a team-high three runs.
Hansen scored twice and also coaxed a pair of walks. Boeckmann walked three times in the game, while Scheer joined Hansen with two walks (all told, the Warriors walked nine times).