116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A few nerves churned in Iowa City High Coach Brian Mitchell’s stomach.
He was slightly anxious, facing Davenport North, which closed the regular season with a seven-game win streak, as opposed to the Little Hawks’ 3-4 mark over a similar stretch. Plus, the Wildcats started their leading pitcher in wins, earned-run average and strikeouts.
City High allowed him to exhale early, posting an eight-run second inning and cruising to a 9-0 victory over North in a Class 4A Substate 6 first-round baseball game Friday night at Mercer Park.
“We put a lot of pressure on them and that’s what we have to do,” Mitchell said about the outburst. “That helped a lot. Once we got to five or six, it was like, ‘Ah, this is good.’
The Little Hawks (28-13) sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning. They capitalized on some Wildcats miscues to open up the game. Gavin Koch reached on an error to lead off. Cedric Dunnwald walked and both advanced on a Jacob Means sacrifice. Koch scored on a wild pitch and Dunnwald scored on an errant throw by the pitcher on Ben Kueter’s fielder’s choice.
Joey Bouska was hit by a pitch and then the timely hits started.
Carter Seaton singled, setting up Gable Mitchell with the bases loaded. He delivered an opposite-field double to the left-center gap to score two, making it 4-0.
“I did a high-bar approach where I was at the top of the zone,” Gable Mitchell said. “He threw me a curveball and took it the over way.
“He definitely has some good stuff. Breaking that open takes off any pressure and allows us to open up even more and get more runs.”
John Klosterman added an RBI groundout and Dunnwald capped the scoring with a two-run single for his second at-bat of the inning.
“There was a lot of energy,” Seaton said. “The last few weeks we have strung hits together or done our jobs very well. We put it all together. The eight-run inning was awesome.”
Mitchell and Seaton combined for five of the Little Hawks’ 11 hits. Mitchell scored twice, coming in on a Koch single in the sixth. Seaton reached in each of his first three at-bats.
“I’ve been with these kids forever and Carter Seaton is one heck of a player,” Brian Mitchell said. “He always has been. We were talking about it, how he goes, we go. He had a great approach at the plate. He didn’t try to do too much, especially early. He covers a lot of ground at second base. He’s a dynamic player.
“You take those two up the middle and it’s pretty exciting.”
Klosterman stifled North batters. He tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. The Wildcats (16-18) advanced runners in scoring position but Klosterman shut down rallies, including three straight strikeouts with a runner at third in the first. Koch worked two scoreless innings of relief.
Brian Mitchell said Klosterman was amped up to start but settled in for a strong outing.
“He’s really composed and mixes pitches well,” Brian Mitchell said. “He has a good fastball and breaking ball. He did a good job.”
Second-seeded City High hosts No. 3-seed Burlington Monday at Mercer Park, beginning at 7 p.m.