Valenstein, Dirker lead Tigers to regional title


ISAAC DIRKER, Howards Grove senior pitcher, delivers to a Kiel batter in the regional baseball finals Wednesday, July 11. Dirker fanned 10 batters and earned a 6-1 win. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ISAAC DIRKER, Howards Grove senior pitcher, delivers to a Kiel batter in the regional baseball finals Wednesday, July 11. Dirker fanned 10 batters and earned a 6-1 win. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE – Senior Mason Valenstein slugged a three-run homer and senior Isaac Dirker fanned 10 batters to ignite the Howards Grove Tigers to a 6-1 win over Kiel in a regional baseball final here Wednesday night, July 11.

The regional championship is the first for the Tigers since 2014. HG, the No. 3 seed, improved to 16-6. The No. 6-seeded Raiders ended their season at 15-8.

Valenstein’s team-high fourth homer of the season was a three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning which gave HG a 3-0 lead.

Dirker, a senior, posted the win. He started and went five innings and allowed one earned run on only three hits with four walks and two hit batters,

Nic Koenig pitched the final two innings for the Tigers and had five strikeouts while surrendering no hits and one walk.


MASON VALENSTEIN of Howards Grove slugs a three-run homer in the first inning of the regional baseball finals Wednesday, July 11 versus Kiel. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley MASON VALENSTEIN of Howards Grove slugs a three-run homer in the first inning of the regional baseball finals Wednesday, July 11 versus Kiel. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “Of course we are very excited about winning the regional title against Kiel who went to state last year,” said Tiger head coach Mark Weber.

“When you win it’s always a team effort and we played flawless defense behind Isaac in this one.

“Isaac has been pretty dominating this season, going 7-2 and maintaining an ERA under 1 along with allowing only six earned runs all season,” said Weber.

“Nic came into the sixth inning and really shut the door. Both had exceptional control in this game – striking out a combined 15 of the 21 outs and walking only five while allowing only three hits.”

Valenstein led the Tigers in RBIs with four and Koenig had two. Koenig had a teambest three hits, followed by Valenstein and Alec Danen with two each.

Reinemann paced HG in runs scored with three.

“Valenstein’s three-run blast in the first was huge along with Koenig’s three hits and two RBIs and Valenstein’s 4 RBIs,” said Weber.

Koenig’s RBI double in the second gave HG a 4-0 lead. He drove in a run in the sixth with a single which made it 6-1.

The Tigers’ other run came in the fourth on an RBI single by Valenstein which gave his team a 5-0 cushion.

The Raiders tallied their run in the fifth on Austin Conrad’s RBI double.

Conrad led Kiel in hits with two. He started on the hill and took the loss. Conrad threw only 1-2/3 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits with zero walks, a hit batter and three strikeouts.


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