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Akron’s Kirkeby throws no-hitter to beat Plankinton
By By Kevin Pottebaum
For the Challenger

August 20. 2013 9:01AM
Jared Kirkeby became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the South Dakota state amateur baseball tournament since 1984, as Akron, Iowa, defeated Plankinton 7-0 Aug. 7 in Sioux Falls. The last no-hitter was thrown by Lake Norden’s Dave Schultz in a game that ended in five innings.

Kirkeby became just the third player to throw a nine inning no-hitter, joining Faulkton’s Claude Oaks (1936) and Menno’s Carl Hertz (1948). Before Kirkeby took the mound, the Rebels had a 3-0 lead after jumping on Plankinton pitcher Travis Gant.

“I was able to settle down after we got up,” Kirkeby said. “I was excited to pitch and I knew I didn’t have to be perfect.”

Plankinton’s only players to reach base were Tyler Fernau and Trevor Boyd. Both players drew walks. Kirkeby recorded seven strikeouts in the game and relied on a solid defense to shut out the F&M Bankers.

“The defense played better than I pitched,” Kirkeby said.

The Akron pitcher said the moment he felt most confident that he could get the no-hitter was when the last out of the eighth inning was recorded. Plankinton’s Jeremy Nedved hit a sharp line drive right up the middle that looked like it was going to drop in for a single.

“I just put my head down and got ready to get the ball back,” Kirkeby said. Just as he thought his no-hitter was gone, Noah Bohlmann rushed in from center field to make a diving catch. Kirkeby joked that he planned to buy Bohlmann a nice dinner for helping him make history at the state tournament.

Plankinton manager Ryan Pryor wasn’t upset with his team’s at-bats throughout the game, saying it just wasn’t his team’s night.

“We hit the ball hard,” Pryor said. “We were just hitting it in the wrong spot.”

Despite suffering the loss, Pryor thought Gant pitched well. Gant went 8 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits and finished with 11 strikeouts. Plankinton finishes its season 11-13, while Akron (17-7) moved on to face Wynot, Neb., on Sunday in Sioux Falls.

NOTES: Akron had four players record multiple hits in the contest. ... Kyle Bruinsma relieved Gant on the mound, recording the final two outs of the top of the ninth. He did not allow a base runner. ... Akron was helped out by the infield during its threerun first inning. With two outs and one run in, Chad Brown in what looked like a routine ground ball to second base when the ball took a big hop that went over Josh Geppert’s head for a single. “We expect those hops in our infield,” Pryor said. “But not at the state tournament. That’s just baseball for you.”

Two seven-inning no-hitters have been recorded at the state tournament: Madison’s Danny Alfson in 1977 and Larchwood’s Rick Hiltunen in 1978. ... The nohitter was Kirkeby’s third in his life. The other two came in high school.

Brandon native Jared Kirkeby pitches for the Akron, Iowa, amateur baseball team. Kirkeby may amateur ball history by tossing a no-hitter against Parkston in a Class B State tournament game. Photo by Wilma Kirkeby

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