The last five starts have more than likely been symbolic of what Tanner Lohaus can be on the mound.
The West High pitcher is 5-0 in his last five starts, allowing three or less runs each time. Lohaus’ season totals currently are a 5-2 win-loss record with a 3.42 ERA in 43 innings. The right-hander has walked 27, struck out 46 and is holding opponents to a .250 batting average.
Tuesday could be the ultimate turning point, though.
In a 2-1 win over City High, Lohaus pushed the Trojans to victory with a complete-game three-hitter. He allowed only one run while walking two and striking out nine in seven innings. His fastball hit 87 mph on the radar gun several times and was consistently in the low-to-mid-80s. Of his 20 outs recorded — West also picked off a runner for an out — there were nine punchouts, six groundouts, two flyouts, two popouts and one lineout.
Lohaus was in command.
“In my start Friday against Cedar Falls, I thought I got my timing down during that game,” Lohaus said. “Things clicked for me. So I’ve felt good the last few days coming into (Tuesday). When I got on the mound, it just felt great throwing. The fastball sets everything up and the curveball is a nice off-speed.”
As of right now, Lohaus’ baseball journey will be a short ride — at least in terms of playing beyond the prep level.
Lohaus committed to play basketball at Northern Iowa in May. This past season, the 6-6 Lohaus averaged 11 points and 4.4 rebounds as a forward on the West basketball team. His brother, Wyatt, is a sophomore-to-be guard at UNI and his father, Brad, was a center at Iowa.
Nevertheless, the younger Lohaus is making strides toeing the rubber. His ERA was 5.25 in 2014.
“We’ve always thought he’s a high-ceiling baseball guy because he’s 6-6 and very athletic,” West coach Charlie Stumpff said. “His arm is electric. Last year he pitched with us as a sophomore, and he just hasn’t had a lot of experience. He was all over the place, wild. I bet he had 15 wild pitches last year. The arm is there.”
“He’s going to play basketball at UNI, but he has a lot of talent in baseball,” West catcher Spencer Wiskus added. “A lot of talent.”
While there is a chance Division I baseball programs could begin to call for Lohaus’ services as a pitcher — especially if he hits 90 mph — it will be difficult to pull him off the hardwood.
Which isn’t surprising to most.
“Basketball is my sport, you know,” Lohaus said. “I just enjoy it more. Baseball is nice, it’s nice to play two sports, but basketball is my thing.”
West is streaking, winners of three straight games and 11 of its last 12.
Lohaus, who also plays shortstop for the Trojans, gives Stumpff’s club a formidable anchor in the starting rotation along with Nate Barnes, Austin Miller, and John Millmeyer.
Especially with the postseason beginning next week.
“Tanner’s such a good kid,” Stumpff said. “He does great work in basketball, and as a pitcher, but you’ve also seen him play shortstop. He is really baseball savvy. You tell him something once and he gets it. He has great baseball IQ. He’s great to have around. We’re lucky.”
Reach Matt Cozzi at email@example.com or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.