MAQUOKETA -- An inning into Wednesday’s substate baseball game, it looked as though Central DeWitt and Davenport Assumption were in for a long, back-and-forth slugfest. Both teams knocked three hits and a run in the opening frame, making it 1-1 after one.
From there, the Sabers’ bats slowed and the Knights’ appeared ceaseless. Assumption pitcher Andrew Quested held DeWitt to two more hits the rest of the game. His teammates tallied 14 more to finish with 17 on the night.
The first inning was as even as it got for the Sabers, who fell 10-2. Assumption earned a state berth, the team’s first since 2008 and first as a Class 3A team.
“I thought we’d be able to compete with them,” DeWitt coach Shane Sikkema said. The Sabers played up to midnight on Monday in the District 5 final, but he said that had no effect on Wednesday’s outcome.
“We’d given up runs in the first inning a few times this season, so it wasn’t something new. You’d always like to score a few more runs.”
Knights coach Billy Argo said: “They were getting on fastballs early. We knew they’d swing it up and down their lineup. My thought at that time was (Quested) is going to have to find his breaking ball and changeup. He did and kept them down all night.”
Assumption batted first after losing the home-field coin flip. Sabers starter Max Steffens sent down the first batter before surrendering three straight Knights hits. Zach Adrian put Assumption on board with an RBI single to left, scoring Jake Gervase.
The Sabers answered with a rally of their own in the bottom of the first. Austin Lechtenberg, Jake Thumann and T.J. Sikkema all singled to load the bases with one out. Assumption had the chance to end the inning scoreless, though, when A.J. Smith put the ball in play on an apparent fluke bunt. Quested mishandled the ball, allowing Smith to reach and a run to score, knotting it 1-1.