Prep Baseball: Trojans Keep Their Cool and Advance
By Scott Dochterman, Reporter
IOWA CITY — Despite its wealth of state tournament experience, the Iowa City West baseball team gets rattled like every other team.
But instead of giving in to the panic, the Trojans overcome it — even in the most dire situations. West trailed Dubuque Senior by two runs in the seventh inning Wednesday night but rallied with clutch hitting to earn its fourth straight trip to the Class 4A state tournament and beat Senior, 4-2, in nine innings.
“A little bit of panic, but we have confidence in each other,” said West right fielder Ryan Siems. “We know we can get the job done and it will come through eventually.”
“There was a little bit of panic but we’ve got a lot of experience in there and we knew we had to stay loose,” West second baseman Reid Bonner said. “We knew we were good enough. We just had to trust ourselves.”
The Trojans (34-8) will face West Des Moines Valley (33-9) in a Class 4A state quarterfinal at noon Wednesday.
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Siems drove Dubuque Senior pitcher Alex Steines’ curveball into center field to tie the game. In the ninth inning, Siems reached on a single and scored one batter later when Bonner tripled to right-center field.
“It’s not fun when you’re down 2-0 but we’ve come back before,” said Iowa City West Coach Charlie Stumpff. “It’s not over until it’s over.
“Siems came up big after a couple tough at-bats early.”
The late-game heroics overshadowed a solid pitching duel. Steines didn’t allow a West hit until the sixth inning and struck out nine through five innings. West starter Kellen Yoder didn’t allow a hit but left the game in the fifth inning with a shoulder problem.
But seeing Steines for the fourth time helped Siems at the plate in the seventh.
“They’ve thrown me about 10 curveballs all game every pitch and I did a horrible job of adjusting to it,” Siems said. “But in the last at-bat I was able to sit on one and he left it up finally and I was able to get enough on it.”
In the ninth inning, Siems led off with a single to right and Bonner followed with his triple to give West a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Declan Doyle plated Bonner one batter later to give West the final advantage.
“I knew (Dubuque Senior pitcher Connor Grant) was going to come at me with a strike,” Bonner said. “I just tried to swing at it and hit it like I can.
“I was looking at Stumpff and he was waving in Siems so I knew I was going to go to third no matter what.”
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