North Linn strolls into semifinal following 8-1 win over West Branch

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DES MOINES, Iowa. (KCRG) - The North Linn Lynx strolled into the 2A semifinal round after defeating the West Branch Bears 8-1 on Monday afternoon.

“For us, the first ones always the hardest one.” said senior Jake Hilmer.

The Lynx were patient at the plate in the first inning, loading the bases before registering a single out. West Branch starter Matt Paulsen then walked in two runs and hit a batter as North Linn took a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Marcus Hromidko then followed with a two out single that brought home two runs, giving the Lynx a 5-0 lead.

“We are a dangerous team when we are ahead." said head coach Travis Griffith after the game. "We’ve said it for years.”

With that mindset in mind, the Lynx let starting pitcher Jake Hilmer throw only 52 pitches before replacing him with Trevor Boge, who closed the game out. Due to their low pitch counts, the Lynx have the ability to use both Hilmer and Boge in their semifinal game.

"It snuck in our head about that third inning that you know what? We’re off to a six run lead, lets get Jake out at 60-65 {pitches} and have him available at least.” Griffith said.

“The pitch count brings a whole strategy to the game for the coaches. Now we can kind of decide what we want to do with that semifinal, but getting those six runs in the first inning. You know you want to get one or two, six is a big luxury.” Hilmer said.

The Lynx advance to the semifinal round for the second straight season and will face either Central Lee or Des Moines Christian.

“For us, the first ones always the hardest one.” Hilmer said. “Even though the stage gets bigger in the second round, you’ve already played on this field, your nerves calm a little bit more than usual.”