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Throne a no-hitter

Chris Throne and the Lake Mills Bulldogs weren’t supposed to win.

“Central Springs had all the press,” Lake Mills head coach Jason Blaser said. “Most of the hype.”

Taking on the ninth-ranked team in the state Saturday, it was win or go home in the first round of the district tournament, a phrase that can hit a nerve among seniors.

Throne took it seriously, and threw a no-hitter against one of Iowa’s top teams in a 7-0 victory over Central Springs in Manly, Iowa.

“I was a little nervous,” Throne said. “Being a senior it could be your last game, but once you get in there the adrenaline is going.”

Going 87 miles per hour, that is.

Throne threw dominant fastballs all night, striking out 10 batters in the win, six of eight at one point.

“I felt strong the whole game,” Throne said. “(Fastball) was really going today.”

The Bulldogs put Throne ahead early, scoring four runs in the second inning.

Saturday night, it would have taken just one.

“With Chris on the mound, you’re not going to have to score a lot of runs,” Blaser said. “The pressure is off in terms of run production.”

So after shutting out a top-10 ranked team, how far can the Bulldogs go with Throne on the mound?

“I think we can beat anybody in the state,” Blaser said. “Honestly.”

Catcher Drey LyBarger started the second with a single to left field. Tyler Rice followed with a single to center and Josh Zabel walked to load the bases with no outs.

Alex Grunhovd then drew a RBI walk to put Lake Mills ahead 1-0 before Jaimyan DeVeiga knocked in the second run on a fielder’s choice to second base.

The third run came on a Central Springs wild pitch and Throne helped his pitching performance by adding the fourth run on a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Royce Byrnes.

That’s when Throne started to roll, striking out four of five through the fourth, and then two of three in the fifth.

“He hit his spots and kept everything low,” said Blaser of Throne’s performance. “LyBarger did a great job (catching).”

Blaser will wait and see how Throne’s arm feels before making a starting pitching decision for Lake Mills next game.

The Bulldogs play again Tuesday in Manly at 7 p.m. against Osage, a team they have already beaten twice this season.