As Luke Tasler and Lou Bassman prepare for the future, they shared one more moment in the present.
The Des Moines Roosevelt duo stifled Des Moines East’s hitters with a pair of strong pitching performances to secure the team’s second straight CIML Metro Conference baseball title. The Roughriders won 8-6 and 4-0 over the Scarlets at Roosevelt on Monday night.
“It’s good to get that conference championship back-to-back,” Tasler said. “They’re (East) a good team. They always have been a good team. It was rough but we fought through it and got it done today.”
Roosevelt (19-13 overall and 15-3 in the conference) won its fourth and fifth straight games behind dominant pitching performances from Tasler, a lefty, and Bassman, a righty.
Tasler, who pitched into the seventh inning, got the win in game one.
Bassman tossed a four-hit shutout to earn the win in game two.
“Two of the best pitchers in the conference there,” East coach Brian Luft said.
The two pitchers, who have combined for nine wins, plan to take their talents to Ellsworth Community College in the fall, where they’ll play baseball.
They’re even finalizing plans to live with each other.
“I think we have a good thing going here already,” Tasler said. “Hopefully we can carry it over next year.”
They aren’t planning too far ahead, though.
“We’re working for a state title right now,” Bassman said.
They solidified the conference title Monday with the sweep and two conference games still to play.
Tasler retired 11 in a row during game one before departing with two outs in the seventh inning and the tying run on second base. Roosevelt right-hander Nick Biancalana ended the threat and the game when he got Shane Sullivan to fly out.
“They really battled,” Roosevelt coach Ryan Fitzgerald said of East.
Cousins Tyler and John Foley each had RBI singles in the third inning of game two to give Roosevelt a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, Sam Norman blasted a solo home run.
That was all Bassman needed to complete the sweep to send his teammates celebrating onto the field.
Fitzgerald celebrated with his players by dancing in a huddle.
“It means a lot to us, honestly,” Bassman said of the conference crown.
East (23-11, 12-6 in the conference) could never put together a steady offensive attack.
“First game, offense was a problem,” Luft said. “Second game, we just popped up too many balls. Couldn’t get anything going.”
Tensions rose in the second game when East starter Xavier James and Roosevelt’s Quinn Barrett exchanged words following a hard tag by James.
As Barrett walked to the dugout, James took off his glove and walked toward him. No ejections were handed out.
“Talking to Brian (Luft) as we went through the line and he said it exactly right, ‘That’s the way conference championship games are supposed to be played,’ and he’s exactly right,” Fitzgerald said.
Last season, Roosevelt qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2002.
Bassman said this season’s team had a lot to live up to.
“Coming back from last year, it was a hard team to follow in the footsteps of,” Bassman said. “I think we can do it.”
East100 001 4–6 9 2
Roosevelt103 121 x–8 10 1
Leading hitters–E: Enochs 2×4, Ziegler 2×4; R: J. Foley 2×3, Wineski 2×3. W–Tasler. L–Carmichael. S–Biancalana.
East000 000 0–0 4 1
Roosevelt010 102 x–4 9 1
Leading hitters–R: Tasler 2×3, Norman 2×3, Swartz 3×3. HR–R: Norman. W–Bassman. L–James.