116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — It was the end of the line for Iowa City West, and a highly-decorated high school career came to a close.
Cedar Falls put up a handful of crooked numbers en route to a 12-8 victory in a Class 4A substate semifinal Monday night at West.
West (22-15) multisport star Marcus Morgan wore a Trojans uniform for the final time, although he did all he could to keep the season alive. Morgan, who will continue his baseball career at the University of Iowa, drove in six and scored two.
“That’s Marcus,” West High coach Charlie Stumpff said. “He’s been a great kid this year with a lot of young guys. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy to coach. He is a special, special player whether it be on the mound or hitting. He’s going to do well at the next level. We got to experience a few years with him and that’s pretty cool.”
Morgan’s output couldn’t keep pace with the Tigers. Six West pitchers combined to allow nine hits while issuing eight walks and hitting four batters. The Trojans committed a pair of errors in the field. Cedar Falls (18-20) scored nine of its runs with two outs.
West starter Nathan Stephens kept the Tigers off the board in the top of the first.
Nate Gudenkauf singled in the bottom of the opening frame. Morgan followed with a two-run blast over the right-center field wall, his sixth home run of the season.
Cedar Falls responded in the top of the second. Three straight walks and an error led to a five-run inning.
Down 7-3 entering the bottom of the fourth, Morgan struck again. The Trojans loaded the bases with one out.
Morgan doubled to left-center, plating two. Morgan came around to score on an RBI groundout from Cade Adkins, tying the score, 7-7.
The Tigers promptly loaded the bases in the top of the fifth. With two outs and a full count, Brody Barlett blasted a bases-clearing double off the wall in right.
The final blow came as No. 9 hitter Max Steinlage ended a long at-bat in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer to right.
Morgan was granted one more chance in the bottom of the seventh, ripping an RBI single. The Trojans left 10 on base.
“We don’t need to discuss the game at this stage and dissect it,” Stumpff said. “Tonight was a microcosm of what we do. We were down and put up a four-spot and tied the game up. We’ve done that all year. That doesn’t happen by accident. That’s your seniors making sure they keep grinding and grinding.”
Cedar Falls moves on to face Cedar Rapids Prairie in the substate final Wednessday.