116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa City High’s John Klosterman admits he isn’t known for his speed.
Though, he did focus on becoming faster and dropped 0.8 seconds off his 60-yard dash.
“I’ve always been a slow kid,” Klosterman said with a laugh. “I really worked on it this offseason.”
The effort paid dividends, resulting in a hustle play that helped Class 4A No. 6 Iowa City High salvage a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader split with Class 3A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier on Friday night at Mount Mercy’s Plaster Athletic Complex. The Saints won the opener, 7-5, and the Little Hawks took the nightcap, 4-3.
Klosterman produced the deciding run of Game 2. He stepped to the plate with two outs in the seventh. He roped a single that skidded under the left fielder’s glove and Klosterman was off to the races, sliding safely into third. He scooted home on a passed ball for the go-ahead run during the next at-bat.
“I was just trying to put myself in scoring position,” Klosterman said. “Be able to get something done in the seventh inning.
“I was rounding second and looked. I picked up coach. I wanted to get there. Obviously, it turned out good and we got the passed ball to get in. We ended up shutting them down in the last half-inning.”
City High Coach Brian Mitchell stresses aggressive base running. He incorporates it into practice, emphasizing trying to take the extra base. Klosterman applied the lessons to a game situation.
“That is what we preach, that is how we train and what the result is,” Mitchell said. “No hesitation. He knew exactly what he was going to do.”
A similar play allowed City High (21-7, 17-3) to tie the game, 3-3, in the fifth. Carter Seaton hit an RBI triple, but Xavier threw him out at home when Gable Mitchell reached on a fielder’s choice. The younger Mitchell stole second and when the ball bounced away he got up and advanced to third. On an ensuing wild pitch that sat just feet from the left-handed batter’s box, the junior bolted for home and scored.
“All that is green light,” Brian Mitchell said. “They are running on their own and that’s our mentality.”
Klosterman finished with two hits, hitting a double in the fourth and scoring on Cedric Dunnwald’s groundout.
“I was hunting first pitch,” Klosterman said. “I just wanted to put the ball in play. I wanted to get myself in position.”
Alex Knudtson pitched a complete game for the win, scattering five hits and striking out eight. He also beat 4A fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie two weeks ago.
“Alex has been unbelievable,” Mitchell said. “Everything wasn’t perfect for him. Boy, the last inning, he was better than he was in the first.”
Xavier (16-9, 13-4) took an early lead on Aiden Henry’s two-run single in the third. Sean Steffen singled and scored in the fifth for the Saints.
In Game 1, Xavier overcame a 3-0 deficit for the win. The Saints scored four in the third, getting a bases-loaded walk from Henry and a Brody Hoffman sacrifice fly to score Jack Lux. Blake Bohon added an RBI single in the fifth and Myles Butkowski drove in a run the next inning for Xavier.