DES MOINES – Cedar Rapids Xavier baseball coach Dan Halter chuckled in relief and excitement.
He realizes the importance of surviving and moving forward in the postseason.
“Every win I’m happy about, especially every win at Principal (Park),” said Halter. “There is definitely a sense of relief because that was a struggle. It was a close game. It was a well played game. Every time you escape, you just move on to the next. It doesn’t matter what it is. “
The senior Saints scored five runs at the end of the sixth to break a tie and defeat Adel ADM 7-2 in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Principal Park on Tuesday. Xavier will play his fifth semi-final on Friday and the first since 2007.
“It feels good,” said Kyle Moeder of Xavier. “We’re trying to keep it normal like we were. Nothing changes. We’re in the semi-finals, which is good, but we’re going to stay focused and locked up on Friday and that’s it. “
ADM (13-18) played the post-season role of Cinderella and entered the state tournament with a Substate win over fifth Harlan. The Tigers hung out with Xavier for 5 1/2 innings thanks to the arm of left-handed starter Logan Crannell, who hit eight batters and limited Xavier to four hits.
The outbreak of the Saints coincided with Crannell being replaced on the hill after a trip to Nate Skala on the sixth.
Scale’s frantic game against Isaac Ball’s misplayed Grounder helped prepare for the winning run. When the ball ricocheted off the third baseman’s glove and dripped into the grass of left field, the fast scale never broke step and made it to third place without coming out.
“I saw it straight away,” said Skala. “When I saw that both the third baseman and the shortstop were going after the ball, I knew I could get into third place easily and they had to make a perfect throw to get me out.
“I was just trying to take a good corner on the base and round it off nicely to get third so we could break in.”
Jaxson Konzen dropped a squeeze Bunt that allowed Skala to beat the throw home for a 3-2 lead. The saints began to roll. Quinn Schulte added an RBI groundout to make it 4-2. Moeder followed with an RBI double and Garrett Ries hit a runscoring single.
“We stayed confident and in the dugout,” said Moeder. “We immediately put on some runners with no outs and brought them over and set up. We executed.”
The starting shot was actually the second part of the game. Xavier used the small ball in the second for a 1-0 lead. Skala put down a bunt to meet Nick Banowetz, who was unlucky enough to start the inning.
Xavier’s second run was the following inning when Moeder scored from the second for the first time when a throw to the first sailed down the right field line.
“I love watching these guys play,” said Halter. ‘You’re running the bases properly. We do bunts when we have to and where we did when we needed to. “
Bryson Bastian prevented the ADM offense. He improved to 9-0, allowed only five hits and hit ten in six innings. Braden Albert finished the game on an inning of relief.
“They are a good hit team,” said Bastian. ‘You have a piece of a couple of balls. I was just trying to find fastball and work out of speed. “
ADM took the lead in the top third. Spencer Collins doubled up to hit Stine-Smith’s base goal on Tate. The Tigers pulled a double steal for a 2-1 lead.
“It’s a shame the pumpkin burst, but this is baseball and you have to go out and play it,” said ADM coach Jason Book. “We only fell on the short end today.”
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Garrett Ries (23) of Cedar Rapids Xavier hits the ball during a Class 3A quarterfinal against ADM at the 2019 State Baseball Championship at Principal Park in Des Moines on Tuesday July 30, 2019. (Cliff Jette / The Gazette)