Unfortunately for Preston, high school baseball games last seven innings instead of five.
The Trojans (22-12) led Coon Rapids-Bayard 1-0 after five innings in the Iowa Class 1A state quarterfinals Monday. After that, things went downhill quickly for Preston.
Coon Rapids-Bayard (30-5) tied the game in the sixth inning. The Crusaders then sent 18 batters to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring 12 runs on seven hits. Coon Rapids-Bayard won 13-3 and advanced to play top-ranked Martensdale-St. Marys in Thursday’s semifinals.
“It’s tough, a tough loss,” Preston sophomore starting pitcher Colton Bormann said. “We were in it right until the end. We never gave up. It was a fun year.”
In the top of the seventh, everything seemed to go right for the Crusaders and wrong for the Trojans.
With the score tied 1-1, Jacob Esdohr led off with a fly ball to right field that was misjudged and fell in for a triple. Jay Carstens followed that with an RBI double to left field, giving the Crusaders their first lead of the game. A single by Gage Reis scored another run after a foul popup fell between Bormann and first baseman Alex Hinerichsen.
After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, Reis scored on an error. Then Caylor Deeth and Zach Imler hit back-to-back RBI singles.
“We knew we could hit the ball,” Esdohr said. “We had runners that got stranded in one through six innings. We could never find the gap when we had runners on. During the seventh inning, we finally did that.”
Keaton Schlatter hit a fly ball to left that also appeared catchable but turned into a double. Esdohr came back to the plate and hit a fly ball to center, which again could have been an out but fell in for his second triple of the inning, driving in two runs.
“I had hit two balls that made it to the warning track earlier that were caught,” Esdohr said. “I was hitting the ball. I just finally hit them where nobody was.”
Esdohr said it was the first time he ever hit two triples in the same inning.
“I said, ‘You can’t drop four fly balls and expect to win, not this late in the year,’” Preston coach Mark Bormann said. “All four of them should have been caught, honestly. We’re camped under three of them. Then that little bloop one that a guy thought another kid called. That’s baseball. No excuses. We should have put more runs on earlier. That might have changed the tone.”
If the Trojans had played their best defense, it’s reasonable to think the Crusaders would have scored only one run in the seventh. Then, coach Bormann said, it might have been a different story, especially given the way Preston has won some of its playoff games this season.
“We had them on the ropes until that last inning, but you’ve got to make the plays,” he said. “We dropped four fly balls. That’s high school kids. It snowballed on us. We shut them down and we win. That’s just the way our team is. If we hold them to one or two, I think we still win. We had the top of our order coming up, too.”
The Trojans came back with a rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring twice.
Jason Feddersen reached on an error to lead off the inning. After an out, Colton Bormann singled and Hinerichsen drew a walk to load the bases. Hinerichsen reached base in all four of his plate appearances, including two walks.
With the bases loaded and one out, Blake Tebbe hit a ground ball to Esdohr, who was playing shortstop. Esdohr stepped on second base and fired to first, but Tebbe beat the throw for an RBI fielder’s choice that scored Feddersen. Then Colin Larson hit an 0-1 pitch into left field for an RBI single. But that was all the Trojans could muster in their final at-bat of the season.
“We never give up,” Colton Bormann said. “We’ve been playing that way all year.”
With only two seniors graduating from its roster, Preston seems poised to make it’s third trip to Des Moines for the state baseball tournament next year.
“We’ll have a lot of the same players back. Hopefully, we’ll be back here next year,” Colton Bormann said.
“We don’t lose as many key players as we did last year, and we gain a few,” Mark Bormann said. “It could be interesting next year. Next year, maybe we’re supposed to get here. Maybe. It isn’t guaranteed though.”
COON RAPIDS-BAYARD 13, PRESTON 3
CR-B 000 001 (12) — 13 15 2
Preston 000 010 2 — 3 7 4
Gage Reis (5 1⁄3 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 0 er, 3 bb, 5 k), Jay Carstens (W 10-2, 1 2⁄3 ip, 2 h, 2 r, 0 er, 3 bb, 1 k) and Jacob Esdohr, Brendan McAlister (6); Colton Bormann (L 5-5, 6 1⁄3 ip, 14 h, 10 r, 9 er, 2 bb, 2 k), Matt Zeimet ( 2⁄3 ip, 1 h, 3 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 1 k) and Blake Tebbe. Multiple hits — Coon Rapids-Bayard (Esdohr 2-5, Carstens 2-4, Reis 2-4, McAlister 3-4, Caylor Deeth 2-3, Zach Imler 2-4); Preston (Alex Hinerichsen 2-2, Colin Larson 2-3). 2B — Coon Rapids-Bayard (Carstens, Deeth, Keaton Schlatter). 3B — Coon Rapids-Bayard (Esdohr 2). RBI — Coon Rapids-Bayard (Esdohr 2, Carstens, McAlister 2, Brett Carstens, Michael Schwenk, Deeth, Imler 2, Schlatter); Preston (Tebbe, Larson).