Hot Start Pushes West To State Tournament

By Scott Dochterman, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Iowa City West felt the pain of losing a substate final a year ago, and the Trojans collectively vowed it wouldn’t happen again.

In a stellar first-inning offensive performance, No. 4-ranked Iowa City West cemented its vow into a statement, scoring eight runs and outpacing Burlington 14-4 in a Class 4A Substate 5 final at West High School last night. The five-inning win vaults the Trojans (32-9) to their fifth state tournament in the last six years. Burlington’s season ends at 22-16.

Iowa City West sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and every hitter either scored or batted in a run. The Trojans chased Grayhounds starting pitcher Jordan Voyles after six at-bats and pounded eight hits in the inning.

“They must have been seeing the ball and putting the fat part of the bat on it,” Iowa City West Coach Charlie Stumpff said. “It’s kind of contagious once the hits start going. I don’t know why it works that way. It just kept on coming for us.”

For West third baseman Tyus Adkins, the reason for success was self-evident. The senior was the starting pitcher in last year’s one-run substate loss to Linn-Mar last year. This year, the Trojans were focused on jumping on Burlington right away to avoid similar drama.

“We were really focused just because of last year,” said Adkins, who had four hits and also reached on a fielder’s choice. “Last year we really wanted it but we came up short, and so I know this year we were more amped to go get it.

“Last year really, really (stunk). Personally, I pitched last year and I was very, very close to all those guys because I played with them my whole life.”

West’s tenacity began well before last night’s win. After slumping to a 7-7 start, the Trojans have won 25 of their last 27 games and boast a 12-game winning streak. Reaching their familiar perch at the state tournament wasn’t easy, but the Trojans fought back through their early-season struggles.

“We had 13 seniors that went through that last year and we talked about it,” Stumpff said. “You always say the right things. You hope they work hard in the off-season and they did that.

“We were scuffling (at 7-7). I tip my hat for not giving up and giving in, that’s hard. I try to avoid adversity but when you get through it, it makes the rest of this real sweet. I’m sure the rest of the guys are really enjoying this.”

West pitcher Nick Gallagher (8-2) scattered four hits and struck out 10.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@sourcemedia.net

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