CEDAR RAPIDS — Davenport Central, which was once 8-16, stood toe to toe with a Cedar Rapids Washington team that was 18-7 on its home field Wednesday and nearly pulled off the upset to reach state.
But when Warrior third baseman Lincoln Riley stabbed a potential game-tying double off the bat of Andrew Hegland, first with his glove and then with his bare hand after it popped from his mitt, and second baseman Brandy Bunten knocked down the ensuing liner and threw out the Devils’ Will Kranz, the season was over.
Central was eliminated by the Warriors 2-1 in the Class 4A substate final. Central led 1-0 most of the night, but the Warriors (24-15) scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to pull off the win.
“It’s pretty sad to be a No. 6 seed and come all this way,” said Blue Devil senior Bobby Magnus, who drove home Central’s only run on a single up the middle in the third. “We had a lot of momentum but they played well.
“There were opportunities, but we didn’t capitalize on them.”
The Blue Devils came close in the seventh. With Elijah Mitchell on second with one out, Hegland sent a screamer down the line at third that Riley snared with his glove until it popped out. He was lying on the ground when hecaught the loose ball with his bare hand for out No. 2.
“If it was six inches higher, he’s probably not going to make that play,” Magnus said. “And then we score a run to tie the game, and it’s a whole different situation.”
“They made two really good plays,” Cartee said. “Otherwise we are going to have it tied up. You have to tip your hat to them. Unbelievable.”
The only reason the potential tying run reached base was because the Warriors’ center fielder bumped into the right fielder on a ball almost to dead right. The ball fell to the turf to put the speedy Mitchell on.
It was that kind of night, though — crazy plays.
With two on and one out in the fifth, Washington tied it on a single to center by Drew Dostal with Magnus throwing out Riley, the go-ahead run at home. Dostal then tried to go to second and was safe but Adin DeLaRosa threw home to catch Brady Bunten easily. Yes, two runners thrown out at home on essentially the same play.
“That was definitely on me,” said Warriors’ coach Scott Brune. “I was trying to steal one and they made a couple good throws. Kudos to them they made some plays when they needed to to keep us where we were at.”
Brune’s team was without Division I outfielder Trey Leonard, who left for Louisville earlier this month.
The winning run scored when Nolan Cavanaugh reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on Luke Jonasson’s towering fly-ball double to the warning track in left center. That set up the exciting top of the seventh.
“I am disappointed for our seniors, especially, and our entire team,” said Cartee, whose club bows out with a 15-19 record. “We have been battling all year. We’ve been improving all year. We fought hard till the end.”