It all comes down to this, Lake Mills (7-2 5-0) for all the marbles, Forest City 5-6 (4-1) for some of the marbles.
It seems that of late, the Top of Iowa West Conference crowns have been decided by Forest City vs Lake Mills. Conference track meet last year, volleyball this past fall, basketball (Forest City eliminated Lake Mills), and now baseball.
It may also seem that for Lake Mills, they have less to play for. The Bulldogs have already clinched at least a share of the title, and they’ll win it outright with a victory tonight. Bulldogs coach Chris Throne doesn’t look at it that way, they want it to themselves – they want the pride and bragging rights that come with a win.
It’s been six tries since the last time Lake Mills beat Forest City, July 1st, 2016, a 5-4 win in game one of a double-header.
Forest City coach Jeff Jerome says the Winnebago County rivals always seem to play a close game.
Jerome is right, in the last 12 match ups, 10 times the game has been decided by two runs or less. Forest City has come out ahead of both lopsided games, 12-2 and 14-3.
Lake Mills clinched the share on Wednesday night with a 6-0 win over North Iowa and a Forest City loss to Bishop Garrigan. For the Bulldogs, it will be their first TIC title in baseball; they haven’t won a TIC or North Iowa Conference title since 2001. That year, Lake Mills also had a chance to win it outright, but lost to North Iowa 8-4. The Bison then beat Osage 3-1 on the final night of conference play to share the title with Lake Mills. Coach Throne says the feeling right now is great, but would be much “sweeter” if they can win tonight.
Forest City has won two conference championships since the Bulldogs last won one. Forest City shared the NIC crown with Newman in 2012 and won the outright TIC West in 2017.
What will be the key for the Indians to win their third conference title under 15th year coach Jeff Jerome?
If I may, let’s add another unique twist. Both coaches starred at the school they are currently coaching for. Jeff Jerome is a 2000 graduate from Forest City, and Chris Throne is a 2010 graduate from Lake Mills; which gives them both experience playing in, coaching in, and spectating these games.
Just when you thought this game was big enough, coach Thrones agrees that because it’s against Forest City, it may be a little bit bigger.
KIOW’s Pregame show from Forest City will start at 7:15 with the first pitch around 7:30 PM.