SIOUX CITY – On paper, the #7 Bishop Heelan Crusaders baseball team should breeze past an 8-9 Storm Lake Tornadoes squad. However, there’s a reason they play the game, and whoever wants to move on to the Class 3A District 2 semifinal will have to earn their win on Friday.
For Bishop Heelan, the Crusaders are potentially facing playing without six of their starters, depending on when those players can return from self-quarantine. If none return the roster will only have eight of 17 varsity players available, with the rest coming from the junior varsity team. That’s a pretty tough time of year to have to learn on the fly. The Crusaders have plenty of talent, however, even on the bench, so their challenge will be to try and win another game so that if the players who are quarantined can’t return for Friday that they may be able to return in the following games.
For Storm Lake it’s all about hitting their stride at the right time. The Tornadoes opened the season 0-4, but finished it 8-5, including going 4-1 in their last five games. They, like every other team, had to learn on the fly and iron out issues early on, and it cost them. But now, after seemingly finding a groove, they’ll look to take advantage of a Heelan team that may be a bit dysfunctional as they also have to learn on the fly with younger players, and punch their ticket to the next round.