Benson aids Wartburg’s run to national tourney

The Wartburg College baseball team captured its ninth Iowa Conference tournament title by beating Coe on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, sending the Knights into the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships.

Wartburg (34-9), ranked 21st in the nation, will face Adrian (Mich.) in the first round of Central Regional play at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Moline, Ill. Coe was denied an at-large selection.

The Knights won the Iowa Conference’s regular-season title and held off runner-up Coe twice during tournament play, including a 7-6, come-from-behind win to eliminate the Kohawks (28-14).

Wartburg senior right-hander Scott Benson, a 2009 Gladbrook-Reinbeck graduate, pitched eight innings for the win in the Knights’ 8-7 semifinal victory over Simpson on Thursday. He struck out four, walked two and allowed five earned runs on eight hits to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Parker Bolt, a 2012 G-R graduate, is also a member of the Knights’ national qualifier squad.