The Maple Leafs closed out the season against Rock Island and hosted the first round of the Class 3A Geneseo Regional.

The Maple Leafs closed out the season against Rock Island and hosted the first round of the Class 3A Geneseo Regional.

Geneseo at Rock Island

A run in the bottom of the seventh allowed the Rocks to sink the Maple Leafs 2-1 on May 17.

Geneseo’s Kyle Pittenger pitched four innings allowing one hit with four walks and four strikeouts.

After missing time this season with a toe injury, Jaren Brucher made his return to the mound.

Brucher surrendered just one hit over two innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

Geneseo’s Cole Hartman singled and drove in a run.

Colton Garcia and Jacob McConnell each singled, and Payton Clauson drew a pair of walks.

Class 3A Geneseo Regional — IVC vs. Geneseo

Geneseo’s Jaren Brucher made pitching look easy. It was covering first base on a ground ball in the seventh that was his only concern.

Brucher won the footrace to first base and finished off a one-hit complete-game shutout to lead Geneseo past IVC 1-0.

A toe injury had sidelined Brucher since an April 10th game against Sterling, but after making a two inning relief appearance against Rock Island Brucher earned the start in the regional at Stone Field on 21.

“Throughout my injury, I was still throwing every day,” Brucher said. “My arm felt as strong as it has ever been, and I felt pretty good coming back 100 percent.”

Brucher looked better than 100 percent using a sharp command of his pitches to keep IVC’s hitters off balance taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finishing with 12 strikeouts, no walks and one batter hit by a pitch.

“We’ve had some good pitchers in the past with Marshall Rice and Jacob Pauley,” Geneseo Coach Scott Christensen said. “I would say that was as dominant a performance as we’ve ever had.”

The only real tough spot Brucher found himself in was a jog off the mound to cover first base on a groundball to fielded by first baseman Kyle Wise.

With aggressive baserunning early in the game, Geneseo had run into several outs on the basepaths.

However, the clutch hitting and baserunning allowed the Maple Leafs (10-21) to find what they needed.

Cole Hartman drew a one-out walk to start the fifth inning, and Colten Garcia notched a hit on a bloop single.

Hartman and Garcia advanced into scoring position on a passed ball, and Wise came to the plate just looking to give Geneseo a lead.

“That one run feels like five when you get it that late in the game with (Brucher) on the mound,” said Wise an Augustana baseball recruit.

Geneseo will play top-seeded Dunlap in the regional semifinal at Stone Field on Wednesday, May 23 at 4:30 p.m.