Senior pitcher Chris Halbur scattered six hits and struck out 10 to propel Kuemper Catholic past Spirit Lake 5-1 Monday night at Principal Park and into the semifinals of the Class 2A state tournament. Halbur also went 2-for-4 at the plate, collecting a pair of doubles.
The Knights got on the board early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Bryce Wessels led the game off for the Knights drawing a walk, followed by a single from Carter Ludwig and a Logan Nolting double to score the Knights' leadoff man. Ludwig would score on the following play, a 6-4 fielder's choice with Halbur collecting the one of two RBIs on the day.
Kuemper would score again in the bottom of the fifth off a Halbur double, scoring Wessels for the second time.
Spirit Lake loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning with no outs, but was able to push across only one run. Leadoff hitter Paul Brown started the inning with a single and would finish the game 2-for-3. Stoll and Nick Amundson would also reach on singles, but only Brown would score, coming from a 6-4 fielder's choice off the bat of cleanup hitter Reese Salmon.
Kuemper scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth. Colby Baumhover started the inning with a leadoff single, stole second and scored on a Wessels sacrifice fly to right field.
Spirit Lake starting pitcher Brandon Stoll (8-1) allowed five runs on 10 hits and four walks.
The Knights will advance to the semifinals Thursday at 8 p.m., taking on either second seed North Polk (29-4) or Albia (24-16), the seventh seed.
Spirit Lake, its their first-ever state tournament appearance, ends the season at 16-11 overall.
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